Pilates and yoga rock as complementary forms of exercise, and over the last few years have become really popular in health-conscious areas like Sydney. But over the last few years I have treated an increasing number of injuries relating directly and indirectly from yoga and Pilates exercises.
Here are a few sure-fire ways to avoid a painful (and potentially harmful) experience.
Are you injured or do you have a history of injury? If so an assessment from a Pilates-trained physiotherapist is strongly recommended. In particular, spinal pain is an indicator that you may need guidance. Spinal pain is a red-flag that something isn’t right, so go and get checked!
The basics are everything: Familiarise yourself with basic concepts such as the neutral pelvic position and how to correctly switch your core and pelvic floor musculature on. I have treated individuals who have been doing Pilates incorrectly for years and wonder why they now have spinal pain.
Are you new to exercise? If this is the case it is best to get clearance from your G.P and physiotherapist before you start. I know, I know – you’ve heard it all before, but it’s smart to do so.
Do you suffer from joint hyper-mobility? Hyper-mobility basically describes stretchy joints. This increased laxity in your joints requires a greater strength from your muscles to provide optimal joint stability. If you can already touch the floor with your hands you have nowhere else to go! Personally I think that individuals with hyper-mobility get better results with Pilates as the focus is more on the stability muscles in the body instead of stretching.
Do you feel worse in certain postures of yoga or Pilates exercises? If so you may have a directional bias. This is when your body prefers one position over another. For example, can you stand up longer than you could sit? People with a history of lower back pain emanating from a lumbar disc problem tend to experience pain from prolonged bending. Therefore, prolonged bending in yoga or Pilates usually make these symptoms worse.
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Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t meant to be an attack on yoga or Pilates! I practice both, and enjoy them equally. But It is really important to make sure that you have a pain-free experience. So go forth and enjoy…
Have you tried Pilates or yoga? How did you like it? What benefits did you see? Tell us below.