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Pilates is part of the current fitness trend of mind-body classes, like yoga. However, did you know that the Pilates method uses many of the same principles used to help injured athletes recuperate? Pilates exercises are low-impact and focus on control, alignment and precision, to prevent injury to the body.
Pilates is used by more athletes as a means to cross-train. By strengthening the core muscles, it helps the body create more efficient movement and improves flexibility to help prevent injury. Athletes who have better core strength are thought to have better dynamic control of their movements, and are less likely to sustain injuries, which has been used to prevent injuries including ACL tears and ankle sprains.
More: What to Expect After an ACL Tear
The basic premise of Pilates is core strength. Your body's core is basically the musculature and bony structure of your torso, the area between your neck and your hips, and serves as the "powerhouse" of all movement. In order to move properly, your body will first stabilize the core before initiating any movement no matter how small. Pilates focuses on ideal posture, muscular balance and stability, thus promoting the proper firing of muscles through movement. Obviously, good posture will help you stand taller, look leaner, breathe better and eliminate back pain. When performing physical activity, like running, the core is needed to hold the body upright through the movement. A strong core will help keep you running tall and help you keep your endurance.
More: Improve Your Well-Being With Pilates
At the same time, Pilates training can improve your posture and help you address any muscular imbalances that you have created in your training regimen. For example, runners only move in a front to back (or sagittal) fashion. They have strong quads, hamstrings, gluts, and calves, all of which move your legs forward and backward. They generally be tight and weak in their inner thighs, deep hip muscles, and IT bands, all of which move the legs sideways, but also provide stability to the knees and hips. Pilates exercises have been created to correct this exact problem, and will be able to balance the legs, help the runner stand taller and help prevent overuse injuries.
More: Pilates for Back Pain
Pilates work also stresses pelvic and spinal stability, and is the basis of your core. A strong, stable pelvis that Pilates training creates will allow for proper, safe movement, and will also provide strength for your frame, in this case your spine, to be built upon that. A stable pelvis will result in a stable spine, helping you, the athlete, stay away from back injury.