How can pilates help with stress and anxiety? Stress and anxiety are as natural to the human form as breathing or sleeping. The response was designed to protect you from danger and enable you to react quickly. When we were cavemen, what caused stress might be a ginormous beast coming your way or what you were going to eat to survive that day… basically a life or death situation. Nowadays, events that may cause stress can be something as simple as running late or forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning.
Obviously there are times in our lives where the stress and anxiety is very real but my point is that our hypothalamus (the area of the brain that sends out the stress hormones) is firing off a lot easier than it used to. If you don’t learn to control your stress levels and it continues to fire continuously, that is when it can have some serious ramifications for your health. It can lead to problems with depression, insomnia, overeating/under-eating, lower immunity, and could also affect your digestive system (ie stomach aches, heartburn, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting) just to name a few.
This is where pilates can help. Sarah Wilson wrote a book (which everyone at Rebalance highly recommends!!) called First We Make the Beast Beautiful which is all about her dealings with anxiety and her tips and tricks for surviving it. She found a study which was published in 2016 that shows how stress manifests in the body – particularly in the core. Read below:
How pilates can help:
Pilates can be a form of Meditation
Pilates can be a form of meditation in that it provides a space for the mind to focus on the present moment (and present muscle you may be working!!) and leave all your stresses from the day at the door. For any of you who are in our classes, you will also note how all of our instructors want you to breathe! This is the Pilates principle that breath oxygenates the blood, which then triggers the brain to calm down.
Pilates teaches you to be more aware of your body
In being more body aware, you are also able to control your body better when under high levels of stress.
That endorphin rush
Like with any exercise, pilates allows the endorphin hormones to flow throughout the body. These wondrous endorphins are a much more powerful hormone than the stress hormones.
Feel strong and confident
Pilates is all about challenging your body and your mind. How amazing does it feel when you can suddenly master a move or a new spring setting that you couldn’t do a week or two ago! You feel stronger and get a boost of confidence which can be just the thing to get that stress off your mind.
Anxiety is excruciating and personal and unique and I truly sympathise with anyone reading this who is going through it right now. WE ARE HERE FOR YOU! But get yourself started by eating well, exercising and getting plenty of water and sleep.
As Joseph Pilates said, “A body free from nervous tension and fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well balanced mind, fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living”
Let you body and mind enjoy all that pilates can offer.
If you want to chat to us about how we can help, get in touch here.
Written by Bec Hartley – Digital Marketing Assistant