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Posts In: Pilates Benefits

If you start looking for Pilates classes, you’ll soon find that there are at least three main types: Stott, Winsor and Power Pilates. In order to choose the right class for you, you’ll want to understand what each type is and its comparative benefits to the others.

What is Pilates?

All three types of Pilates focus on improving strength, flexibility and posture, with a strong emphasis on the core. Afterall, the core muscles support our limbs and the rest of our everyday movements.

Pilates is typically done in long, but low-impact classes that can be adjusted for beginners or amped up to challenge even the most seasoned professional athletes. From that foundation, each Pilates style brings a unique element to the exercises.

  1. Winsor Pilates

When you think of Pilates, you are probably thinking of Winsor Pilates. Mary Winsor created this style, and she is credited with popularizing the exercise. Her DVDs were sold nationwide and featured her and her team in colorful 80’s style workout gear.

Winsor Pilates focuses on fun and flexibility more than a challenging workout. As with most forms of Pilates, Winsor’s exercises prioritize the core muscles, but also provide a shorter and less intense class.

  1. Power Pilates

Power Pilates is commonly viewed as a return to the original intention of Joseph Pilates, the creator of the exercise program. In the 1980s, Romana Kryzanowska was a Pilates instructor at the original studio where Joseph taught. Some of the instructors that Kryzanowska trained became the first Power Pilates instructors (one was Mary Winsor).

Power Pilates instructors focused on balance, supporting the spine, and efficient movement in intense workouts. Power Pilates is considered “classical” and rejects the modern changes that Winsor brought to Pilates.

  1. Stott Pilates

Stott Pilates is the newest form of Pilates. While it is grounded in the initial theory from Joseph Pilates, it also incorporates modern understanding about physical rehabilitation and performance. Stott Pilates was also designed to be a complete exercise program that offers cardiovascular training as well as strength training. That means you don’t necessarily need to do any other activity to improve your strength and balance, though it can complement other forms of exercise.

Stott Pilates improves on other forms of Pilates in several ways, including:

  • Three-dimensional movement: While other forms of Pilates neglect some movements, Stott Pilates ensures you maintain a full range of motion.
  • Focus on joint muscles: Instead of just focusing on the core, Stott Pilate instructors know that the muscles around the joints are also key for better movement and balance. We work on these muscles.
  • Corrects over-training: By adding cardiovascular training and focusing on exercising both sides of the body equally, Stott Pilates corrects over-training.

Visit Absolute Pilates for Stott Pilates

At Absolute Pilates we offer Stott Pilates because we believe the program gives our clients a more complete, effective and safe exercise regimen. This flexible Pilates style is perfect for everyone, from pregnant women to seniors to professional athletes. All you need is guidance from an experienced, registered Stott Pilates instructor.

Contact us today for more information on our Pilates classes.

Immobility, even for a short period of time (or only in a certain limb), can have serious effects on the whole body. Your muscles, bones, and even heart will weaken unless you take steps to keep them healthy. In fact, it is much easier to prevent the complications of immobility than to treat them after the fact. Pilates can help with both scenarios.

Causes of Immobility

You may need to counter-act the effects of immobility if you are limited to your bed or a wheelchair. Other causes of immobility include:

  • Bed rest due to illness
  • Paralysis of any limb
  • Restriction of a limb in a brace or cast
  • Restriction of joints with a brace or cast
  • Loss of sensation in any body part

Effects of Immobility

Overtime, the effects of immobility can become worse than the illness or injury that caused the immobility in the first place.

  1. Muscles Loss

The first complication is muscle weakness. Research has found that immobile muscles will lose up to 15 percent of their strength each week. This means that after five weeks of immobility your muscles will have lost almost or more than half of their strength.

The first muscles to be affected are the core muscles, because they no longer have to resist gravity. These muscles support you throughout essentially every kind of movement. Unless you prevent core muscle loss, you will find that climbing stairs, walking, and even sitting up is a challenge.

Pilates focuses on these vulnerable muscles first and foremost. Not only can you maintain their condition with Pilates, you may even improve their strength, leaving bed rest stronger than when you started. Many of the key Pilates exercises that develop the core muscles can be done while lying down, so you can exercise no matter what kind of immobility you are dealing with.

Pilates exercises can also focus on the muscle groups that you can move, to ensure they maintain as much of their strength as possible.

  1. Bone Density Loss

Like muscles, bones need activity to remain strong. During immobility, bones will lose their density rapidly, until 12 weeks at which point bone density levels out. However, this rapid immediate loss may cause osteoporosis, or give you a much greater risk of developing it later on. It is much harder to regain bone density than to maintain it in the first place.

Pilates exercises will allow you to use your own body weight to put pressure on your bones, encouraging them to remain healthy. Those exercises which develop muscle strength will also maintain your bone density, especially in critical areas like your hips, knees and back.

  1. Other Complications

There are other rarer complications of immobility that you can prevent. For example, after three weeks of bed rest you could develop orthostatic hypotension, where your circulatory system no longer adjusts as you sit up, making your heart rate and blood pressure increase. Leg exercises and pressure wraps can treat this condition over time, but Pilates leg exercises and sitting exercises may help prevent it in the first place.

Similar treatments are given to patients who develop venous thromboembolisms from inactivity. This condition is a blood clot that forms in the veins of the leg. Simple leg exercises and other Pilates exercises can also help prevent these clots from forming.

If you have immobility, even for a short period of time, you can take charge of your health and prevent these conditions from developing. Contact us at Absolute Pilates to sign up for a Pilates class. You may even end up stronger than you were before your immobility!

If you have low bone density, and osteopenia or osteoporosis, you may have heard that Pilates is not the exercise for you. That’s only half right. While some forms of Pilates may cause harm to your fragile bones, others like STOTT PILATES® can help you rebuild bone density.

The Right Exercise

Those with low bone density are often advised by doctors and physiotherapists to try weight bearing exercises in order to preserve and build bone density. Instead of cycling or swimming, which can take much-needed pressure off your bones, you’ve likely been encouraged to walk or lift weights.

However, walking doesn’t apply any pressure to the bones in your arm, and few seniors feel comfortable lifting weights. The solution is to try STOTT PILATES® instead.

STOTT PILATES® can be adjusted for any level of physical ability. It doesn’t require equipment, unlike weight lifting, and uses only your body weight and gravity to add pressure. Sometimes Pilates involves equipment, but this is usually equipment which relieves pressure, like a trapeze table or TRX machine. Further, there are many Pilates movements that will apply gentle pressure to your arms, which are often neglected in other bone density exercises.

All types of Pilates involve weight bearing exercises, that’s not the problem. Instead, certain positions that Pilates demands of you can be dangerous when your bones are fragile, especially for your spine. The same thing goes for yoga.

No one with osteoporosis should be rolling, on their hip or shoulder. They shouldn’t be twisting their spine, even by reaching behind themselves. They also should avoid leaning forward or curving their spine forward.

The Movements and Goals of STOTT PILATES®

We often adjust STOTT PILATES® programs to avoid these dangerous movements and allow those with low bone density to enjoy the benefits of Pilates. Instead of those dangerous movements, we might work on:

  • Leg pulls and circles
  • Push ups
  • Chest expansion
  • Single and double leg kicks
  • Side-lying movements

The movements we choose for these classes are designed to accomplish a few goals, including:

  • Improve bone density especially in the hips and spine
  • Improve strength to help support weakened bones
  • Improve balance, to prevent falls and fractures
  • Improve range of motion and flexibility
  • Improve posture, which can address pain in some parts of the body

Talk to Your Instructor

If you have low bone density you should let your STOTT PILATES® instructor know, so that they can teach you to modify your movements to maximize your bones and keep you safe.

If you’re not sure if one of our classes is right for you, please reach out to us. We can let you know which of our classes fits your goals best.

At Absolute Pilates, we offer both Pilates and yoga classes, so we often get asked about the difference between the two. While it’s true that they are quite similar, these workouts are different enough that most people have a strong preference for one over the other.

Here we’ll take a look at the key differences so that you can decide which type might be best for you.

The Core Differences

Pilates and yoga are both full-body workouts that focus on improving strength, flexibility, balance and breathing. However, Pilates focuses on the strength aspect, while yoga usually focuses more on flexibility and breathing. Most of the time when you’re in a Pilates class, you’ll be on the ground. In a yoga class, you’re more likely to be switching from standing to ground work, depending on the style.

Another key difference is that many people choose to practice yoga as part their spirituality. Even if you don’t choose to do that, you will still find most yoga classes are meditative and help you focus your mental energy on your goals. Not as many people consider adding their spiritual practices to Pilates, which tends to be more intense. Plus, Pilates involves counting reps and keeping track of sets, which doesn’t leave as much room to think.

You can learn even more about the differences between Pilates and yoga by reading about the specific kinds of classes we offer.

Pilates Classes

We offer several different Pilates classes which all offer something a little different: 

  • Osteo-Pilates: If you’re looking to add a little of that yoga flexibility and balance into your Pilates class, this might be right for you. While the class is designed to decrease the risk of fractures for those with Osteoporosis, anyone can participate and reap the benefits of better balance and bone health.
  • Stretch and Lengthen: This class also focuses on stretching more than your average Pilates class but has fewer bone health benefits than the Osteo-Pilates class.
  • Matwork Challenge: If instead you want to lean into the benefits of Pilates and improve your strength and endurance, this class will challenge you and even boost coordination.
  • Mom and Babies: After you give birth, you might be drawn to Pilates because of its focus on the core muscles, which need to recover and strengthen after your pregnancy. This class allows you to bring your little one and is a bonus bonding experience for both mom and baby!

Yoga Classes

Our yoga classes focus on those benefits that yoga does best, including breathing, focus and flexibility.

  • Hatha yoga: When most people think of yoga, they imagine Hatha yoga. It teaches beginner poses and focuses on breathing and calming to reduce cortisol and improve your focus.
  • Restorative yoga: This class is designed to align your body and mind with slow, purposeful movements that activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The benefits include lowered blood pressure and heart rate, lessening chronic pain and anxiety, and increasing oxygen levels in the blood.

There’s much to be said for the benefits of practicing both Pilates and yoga as you need both strength and flexibility to be healthy. If you’re ready to sign up for a class, feel free to register here.

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