a healthier posture with pilates in the uae workplace!
As Pilates instructors we know that the benefits of Pilates are far-‐reaching. Pilates is so much more than just a series of exercises, it is a mind-‐body therapy that changes the way we move, think and interact. Far from just toning and sculpting, Pilates alters the way we move and hold our bodies in everything we do.
The benefits of Pilates can be seen clearly in the workplace. The typical office worker is overstressed, out of shape, and run down. They are typically shallow breathers, slouchers and may suffer Occupational Overuse Syndrome. Pilates, with its unique series of exercises, is able to correct all of these things. It teaches us correct movement patterns and breathing technique and improves posture.
Prolonged periods of sitting lead to impaired circulation, poor posture and poor muscle tone. Slumping in front of a computer for hours can result in the development of muscle imbalances. The typical slumped forward head position also causes problems and headaches as it disrupts the correct position of the spinal cord, impairing the flow of signals from the brain to the rest of the body. In the short term this can interfere with focus and concentration and while long term it may accelerate ageing.
Many people also sit for hours with crossed legs which is the worst possible position. Circulation is decreased and the combination of compression on one side and overstretching on the other leads to an unbalanced spine. This is particularly so if the same leg is on top every time. It is also almost impossible to engage the abdominals and pelvic floor muscles when the legs are crossed, leading to weakened abdominal muscles and possible lower back pain.
How to prevent poor posture in the office!
While sitting for long periods in the office is largely unavoidable, we can improve the way we do it.
Sitting in a neutral position with feet flat on the floor, abdominals activated and head in line with the spine reduces muscle tension and improves circulation and brain function. Making the effort to regularly change positions or get up walk around keeps the body active and draws our attention back to our posture and body position. Pilates exercises, and particularly the fundamentals can help to counteract muscle imbalances, reducing any pain and helping to create a more balanced body. We can use knee folds to maintain flexibility in the psoas muscles and hip flexors and flight to open the pectoral muscles, while strengthening the muscles of the upper back. Angel wings and shoulder shrugs help to reduce tension in the shoulder muscles, while chin nods and nose circles help to loosen tight and short muscles in the neck.
We encourage you to do standing leg circles while making a cup of tea or bowing and reverse bowing each time they you go to the bathroom. You can consciously activate your abdominals and pelvic floor muscles every time you walk around the office. The body awareness they received from Pilates, will help you move better while performing all the tasks of your day.
Now, while you can’t eliminate desk work, what you CAN do is be more aware of your posture and try to avoid being in these positions for long periods of time. Below are some stretches that can (and should!) be done at your desk to help keep these muscles from becoming too tight and over worked.
Thanks to Jessica Bell, a nutritionist, health writer and Pilates instructor, for this great article published on The Method Pilates website.To reap the benefits of Pilates, reverse the sign of poor posture and ageing while strengthening your overall body and mind, join us at The Hundred Pilates Studio in Dubai for your healthy fix. We offer a comprehensive range of Pilates classes from Mat, Chair, Pole, Reformer, Cadillac and Gyrotonic. All details of our classes are led by certified classical Pilates instructors and full details can be found at : http://www.thehundred.ae