“What’s better... yoga or Pilates?”
This is a question I get asked all the time by clients. The answer would depend on what you are looking for. For most of my clients, people who are recovering from some sort of persistent ache or pain or injury, it’s almost always Pilates (if they had to choose only one).
They are both great, but here’s why, as a Physical Therapist, I prefer Pilates and how I describe the difference to my clients...
Generally speaking, yoga is much more about holding positions to increase flexibility. In yoga there isn't a large focus on strength or stability. This is great if your muscles are tight or if you carry a lot of stress and tension. But with that in mind, remember that there is always a reason why we feel like we always need to stretch... muscles don’t just get tight for no reason. And with my clients, we work together to find the true cause - the real reason why their low back or hips keep getting tight over and over again - so that together we can get to the deeper root of the problem and get rid of that constant need to stretch.
In contrast, Pilates is all about improving our posture alignment while finding and building strength and stability through all the ranges of movement. And as a result, it actually improves flexibility while also giving you that long, lean, and toned body. Pilates builds core strength from the inside out and teaches us how to move our bodies on a solid foundation, thus making our movements stronger and more efficient. The more stable we are, the more protected we are from future injuries.
And that’s the magic... when every movement is most efficient, we reduce the stress being placed on our joints (caused by muscle imbalances and misalignments) which not only helps us recover from injury but also is the best way to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.
Yoga = flexibility.
Pilates = posture and core strength (and injury prevention).
And if you combine Pilates with physical therapy? Talk about a recipe for success and everlasting relief from those aches and pains you can’t seem to get rid of.
I do love yoga, don’t get me wrong. It has so many amazing benefits. However, if you practice yoga too much and become too flexible, it could have some negative consequences on your health and lead you to injury. A common injury I see a lot in yogis is SI pain or back pain. Why?Because yogis are extremely flexible, but their bodies don’t know how to support all that movement. This extreme flexibility does not allow for our movements to be very efficient, stable, or strong. All that energy is lost and it ends up putting more stress on certain joints.
So if you're interested in long lasting injury prevention and strength, and if you want to fix the root cause of your tight spots (not just the symptom), consider Pilates. At Empower, we want to make sure you are confident in your choice. So if you're interested in trying Pilates but still have a few questions, try us out first - for free!
Apply for a free 30 minute Pilates taster with one of our experts right now.
We can't wait to get you started toward your goal of feeling young forever!
What are the 3 things you MUST have to
sport healthy joints and live pain-free & injury-free?
Without one or more of these you are at a greater risk of pain, stiffness, and injury....
Let me explain...
Flexibility is the full length of a muscle when stretched to end range (think how far you can stretch your hamstring). This is forced.
Stability is a joint’s ability to stay put when outside forces are acting upon it. Think of this as your ability to control your movement, like balancing on one leg with perfect alignment with zero swaying or ankle wobble.
Mobility is how much a joint (bone to bone) can move before being restricted by the surrounding tissue such as tendons, muscle, ligaments, and fascia. Mobility is moving your shoulder in a circle or your ability to move your hip freely. Unlike flexibility, this is not forced movement.
Now that you know what each one is…
Why are they important??
Well, they all affect each other. If we don’t have good stability we may lose our mobility. And despite what you may have been told... simply stretching will not improve your mobility. So yoga and only yoga will not keep you injury free... and in fact might even CAUSE injury.
We need all 3 to move and function at our best.
“True flexibility can be achieved only when all muscles are uniformly developed.” - Joseph Pilates
Does your fitness or workout routine focus on ALL THREE?
Does the treatment you are receiving for your back, knee, or shoulder work on ALL 3 of these?
Most likely not…
The focus on all mobility, stability AND flexibility in a holistic way is usually a HUGE missing component in many exercise/fitness routines AND even in some health and wellness treatments.
Here at Empower, when we treat an injury we focus first on making it feel better with mobility (massage, dry needling, adjustments, joint mobilizations, etc. Then we add flexibility (dynamic stretching exercises) and then we MUST teach this area to protect itself going forward, which is stability. This combination is what gets YOU lasting benefits.
Many treatment styles or methods only focus on one, maybe two of these components.
And the one that gets left out is usually STABILITY.
Stability is the control and protection of a joint, and we need this protection in order to stay pain and injury free.
Our joints need stability to feel SAFE.
If they don’t feel safe then, to compensate, we often sacrifice our mobility and flexibility to simulate that safety.
So that stiffness you feel (aka your lack of mobility) may actually be a stability issue - and it's not going to get any better if your trainer just keeps making you do mobility drills over and over and over again.
This is why the combination of working with an expert Physical Therapist and a certified Pilates-based rehab specialist is one of the best ways to improve overall movement, function, and physical health.
So if you’re constantly foam rolling and/or stretching and not getting anywhere...you might be missing an essential component.
If that weekly or monthly massage or chiropractic adjustment feels great but is only giving you temporary relief….you might be missing an essential component.
You may require expert help to figure out what other healthcare providers couldn’t do for you.
But here's the good news - with the right help, you will no longer have to deal with these injuries on an ongoing basis.
I help hundreds of people each year find and fix that missing component and get them back to better health and movement. By looking at the body more holistically and focusing not just on the symptoms but on the ROOT CAUSE of your problem, I'm able to get you lasting results.
If you want to know if I can help you, apply for a Free Discovery Session here.
This is a 30 minute visit with an expert PT to help get you started on your road to recovery - and, even better, we can do a VIRTUAL video call in order to get you started this week.
You've been dealing with this for too long already. It's time. Call us today.
Or join our next 8 week Pilates series - all about creating the perfect balance of stability, mobility, and flexibility to help you improve your posture. You'll stand TALL & PROUD & stop having to worry about your low back pain in the middle of the night. Join us!
I don't know about you... but there are definitely several people in my life who have all of a sudden taken up running to get out of the house during this crazy time. Here are some things I want all my friends to know as they get out on their lunch break for a jog...
Why do some runners seem to always get injured while others are seemingly bullet proof?
Injury can be the biggest obstacle you face when trying to be healthy. You finally get into a routine of workout or running and BAM injury strikes! The first step to address this is being aware that you are injury prone and that you may need to CHANGE something in order to reverse this... which must be the case if you are reading this article.
The next step is where I come in, to educate you on how to take the proper precautions and be an injury free runner.
If you’re frequently injured, it’s time to take a step back in order to understand why you keep getting hurt in the first place. Avoiding injury is always best. If you feel yourself trying to “push through” pain or an injury and it’s not getting better or going away in 5-7 days... it probably won’t on it’s own.
But you’re in the right place - keep reading...
When it comes to injury, there are factors, like genetics and luck that are out of your control but there are WAY more factors that are definitely in your control.
Some people were just born to run! They were blessed with the right genes and seem to never be faced with setbacks. Then there are those that can’t seem to get past the first few weeks of running without achy knees or throbbing shins. Or training is going great and then just a few weeks before the race, injury strikes - forcing rest right when it's least welcome.
I see this sort of thing all the time and most often these injuries could have been prevented with a little more preparation and knowledge. Whatever phase you are in I can help you stay injury free and keep you running for the long haul.
Below I discuss the main factors that lead to injury:
Too much, too soon...
You could be doing too much too soon if you have quickly increased your training volume or session volume (i.e. training distance, mileage, or time) all at once. Too much too soon could also be a sharp increase in the number of days a week you are running. As a general rule, it is suggested that running mileage be increased at no more than 10% per week. It is also important you allow your body the appropriate rest time - the body needs time to adapt to the stress/load being placed on it. If the training load exceeds the body's ability to adapt, then injury occurs. 4 or 5 days per week of running with 2-3 rest days or cross training days is ideal. Studies demonstrate that individuals running 6-7 days per week had the highest risk of injury.
The importance of proper nutrition cannot be overstated! It’s critical in order to insure that your body is functioning at a high level and is capable of recovering from oxidative stress (which is directly related to the disease process). Most athletes focus mainly on their macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins)... however, it is micronutrition which is arguably more important for recovery and sustainability. These are your fruits and vegetables - your body needs them to prevent cellular damage and breakdown, keep your immune system strong, and allow ample recovery. You know how you always get sick right after a race? That’s a sign you are nutrient deficient! It is recommended everyone gets 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables EVERY SINGLE DAY and athletes need nearly double that because of the added oxidative stress your body experiences. And the only thing to reverse oxidative stress (which causes disease and cell damage) is the antioxidants we get from fruits and vegetables.
Poor Sleep Quality
Like proper nutrition, adequate sleep is a critical component to the recovery process. Again, a body that cannot recover fully cannot adapt to the training loads being placed on it. This impedes performance and increases your risk of injury.
Aside from too much too soon, this is one of the most common causes of injury I see in the clinic. And poor posture is all too common in western society as we sit too much, look down at our phones too long, and are constantly stressed. Poor posture can cause excessive loads on the body and create muscle imbalances and compensation. When you run on a poorly aligned machine it wears down much quicker. Think about poor alignment on a car - the longer you drive it the more uneven wear you are causing on the car and the tires. Any mechanic would tell you to get that fixed ASAP. Same goes for your body.
Not listening to your body...
Your body is an incredibly designed machine that wants to work as efficiently as it can. However, if we don’t provide it with the right environment (nutrition, sleep, posture, and proper training regimens) it can’t perform well... and your body likes you to know. Pain is one of the most common signs of the body letting us know something is wrong… it’s like an alarm system in a building, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Sickness is usually our bodies telling us we need more rest or better nutrients. Please, listen to your body when it is telling you something. Seek the professional help you need sooner than later. I can tell you - it’s a fact! - acting now will save you so much time and money. More importantly, you’ll be able to enjoy more of your days out doing what you love - running!
Although many muscle imbalances are due to poor posture, some can be attributed to other chronically repeated movement patterns. Often when developing a certain motor skill, one will practice and practice that skill only. This causes muscle imbalances to occur... which will ultimately result in pain. This can be easily oversimplified though. Muscle imbalances can form for a variety of reasons including: chronic movement (habits) or sitting postures; neurological input; overuse; and purposeful development.
Even running the same direction on a cambered road can cause a muscle imbalance over time.
Regardless of how the muscle imbalance occurs, once present, you are definitely at a higher risk of injury. In runners, I often see an imbalance in strength within the rotators of the hip. This can lead to altered movement patterns and excessive strain and stress throughout the lower kinetic chain. This often results in injuries like patellar femoral pain syndrome, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis. This is why cross training is such an important component to any training plan. With the right advice, training plan and cross training, you can avoid muscle imbalances and prevent injury.
In my opinion, Pilates is one of the best cross training activities any athletes can do to improve muscle imbalances and posture.
Stability refers to the body’s ability to structurally handle the load it’s being asked to bear. Poor stability can be a component of muscle imbalances, but not necessarily. When running, approximately two-and-a-half times your body weight is absorbed through each leg for each stride. The body’s structures (including the muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones) need to have developed the capacity to handle the repeated stress of running. This is why it’s critical to incorporate a strength training routine into your running program. Unfortunately, the deep core is often a forgotten component of cross training programs. WHAT’S THE DEEP CORE?? It’s a crucial part of your stabilizing system and if this is not efficient, none of your movements will be efficient. I highly recommend being assessed by an expert to determine how well your deep core works. CLICK HERE FOR A FREE ASSESSMENT.
Like poor stability, this can be a component of muscle imbalance... and this imbalanced, asymmetric mobility can lead to injury. If you are either too flexible or too inflexible you may also be prone to injury. Too flexible? Is that possible? Yes! Often excessive mobility/flexibility is accompanied by poor stability and can frequently lead to injury. In the case of mobility, you need just enough to safely complete the desired task without over stressing and/or stretching the system.
So what can you do?
Let this be the beginning of a new, stronger you... not just for this weekend's race, but also so that you can keep running for years to come!
Schedule a free discovery visit and we can help find the right fit for you... an individualized plan to get you back on the road again. Maybe you need help with stability and finding your deep core, or help addressing the root cause of pain that is keeping you on the couch... whatever it is, let's develop a plan for YOU together. Here's to injury free running!
Pilates is one exercise that can really make a difference in your health without taking a toll on your body.
Pilates is a form of exercise involving a series of movements that concentrate on core strength, posture, balance, flexibility, and control.
Pilates was developed by German-born Joseph Pilates, who believed mental and physical health were closely connected, and practicing Pilates has been proven to improve overall wellbeing as well as general fitness.
Here are just a few of the benefits and reasons why Pilates could transform your health
If you said “YES, I WANT THAT!” to any of these or all of these, then Pilates and working with our specialists just may be for you.
Apply for our Free Pilates Taster and discover how Pilates can help you reach your goals. Or give us a call 720-722-0685 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Got something you’re going to enjoy today…
(Be sure to read the P.S section too… you won’t want to skip that part!)
So anyway, did you know that research shows that regular Pilates can ward off aches and pains, help us stay sharp, active and vibrant well into our 60’s, 70’s and beyond?
Now I don’t know what your thoughts are on Pilates… You might think they’re a ‘fad’, for the young and bendy, and maybe something aimed purely at ‘women’…
Well, that’s definitely not the case!
The thing is Pilates is for absolutely ANYONE.
Regardless of age, fitness ability and even gender – anyone can do it, and I strongly urge you to as well!
A few months ago I remember recommending one of my client Sharon, 61, of Arvada to take up the activities herself to help with her lower back pain…
And you know what, Sharon has gone to Pilates twice a week, every week since!
So, let me tell you why you should consider doing these activities too, and then maybe like my client Sharon, you can also ease your back pain, or even reduce the risk of it from creeping up on you…
Pilates is a simple yet effective exercise routines that can be done by anyone, at any age. And with our guidance, it’s safe for even those dealing with nagging aches or pains.
And the best thing?…
Pilates is low impact and isn’t designed to be ‘strenuous’, which means you can do them at your own pace without breaking a sweat.
However, IT WILL challenge your body in ways you’ve never imagined, perfect for keeping your joints moving and free from pain.
As well as also being a great stress reliever, these exercises will help you to build flexibility and strength at the same time, strengthening your core – which is essential to holding on to good posture as you get older.
Why don’t you give it a go?…
It may seem a bit strange at first if you’ve never tried these types of exercises before… but for most people who do it (and just like my client Sharon), after they’ve done it for 6 weeks, they’re hooked, and it becomes a real healthy habit that you can easily stick to.
And well, when it’s the best way to slow down the effects of aging, like stiffness and pain, why would you not give it a try??
Even better, we offer a Free Pilates Taster for you to come in and meet with one of our specialized Pilates instructors to see if it's right for you and to make sure you love it! We will also help you figure out the best place to get started.
Our private and small group classes are designed to guide you through safe and effective movements where you will never feel lost or unsure if you are things correctly. Perfect for those that just end up in more pain after working out.
It’s extremely popular among people just like you intending to live with less back pain, less stiffness, to move easier and to simply feel GREAT inside and out.
For more tips like this on how to live with less back pain, visit here to download your free report: 7 Simple Ways To End Back Pain & Stiffness WITHOUT Taking Painkillers Or Having To See Your Doc!
Or check out our next Aging Strong Workshop and learn Dr. Casey’s best secrets to staying young and free and pain and stiffness!
P.S Did you miss the part where you can test out Pilates for FREE??
Dr. Casey Murphy is the Founder of Wheat Ridge’s Leading Specialist Physical Therapy and Pilates Rehab Practice for People in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s+, who want to keep healthy and active. You may know of Casey for her ability to keep people free from painkillers, injections, and surgery and find LASTING solutions to problems such as back, hip and knee pain, as well as pelvic floor problems. Her mission is to keep people from being sidelined from life and get them back to doing the things they love. Dr. Murphy is also certified in Pilates and teaches rehab Pilates classes as well as utilizes her training to assist in recovery and regaining motor control and stability.
Empower PT & Pilates
We help you find a LASTING SOLUTION to back, hip, and pelvic issues so you can age with ease -without having to rely on painkillers, injections, or surgery!
Wheat Ridge Clinic Address: