April is National Stress Awareness month and it’s something that many people find Pilates can help with.
Stress is something that we all experience from time to time – it’s part and parcel of life. Problems happen when we feel stressed all the time.
When we are stressed our bodies release cortisol, a steroid hormone, from our adrenal glands. It is normal for adrenals to secrete small amounts of cortisol to control our blood pressure and metabolism. More is produced when we feel threatened, sending the body into ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is perfectly normal and gives us enough energy and strength to run away from the danger or to fight to protect ourselves.
Effects on the body from constant stress can include impaired metabolism and digestion, often resulting in weight gain; weakness and fatigue; increased blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
How can Pilates help?
Joseph Pilates said “Breathing is the first act of life, and the last. Above all, learn to breath correctly. Concentration on breathing promotes focus and encourages relaxation. It also helps oxygenate the blood and improves circulation.
Mindfulness & Body Awareness
Regular Pilates promotes an increased sense of body awareness. When we are stressed we can hold tension in our body, often without even noticing. Pilates can help us become more aware of that tension.
Pilates helps develop better body awareness and control through concentration and focus. While concentrating on the exercises the mind is less likely to wander and worry about other things.
Taking time out for yourself is important to prevent stress. Joining a Pilates class can be your time each week to relax and focus on yourself.