“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!
When it comes to the CORE, most of us need to go back to the basics.
This is especially for YOU if you're athletic...
You have probably heard of the core and been told that it should be a part of your workout routine... right? I find this to be true for the most of the people I see. Everyone is aware that they need to add core strengthening or ab workouts into their life. However, most of them are doing exercises that are not beneficial (that’s for another post) and might even be harming them in the long run....
So we’ve heard about the core and we know we should do something about it...
But do we truly know what it is, why it's important, how to connect to it, and what is the most effective way to strengthen it?
As a physical therapist and pilates instructor I have a lot of people coming to me for low back pain, running injuries, pelvic floor dysfunction, and shoulder or knee injuries.... and the common factor with MOST of these clients is that they have some sort of dysfunction with their “core”. And usually it starts with a lack of knowing what the core actually involves (hint: it's not your six pack), and how to truly connect with it…
"What do you mean, don’t I just crunch??” Um, no.
Ok, so what is the core?
The core consists of four muscle groups: your diaphragm, your transverse abdominis, your pelvic floor, and the muscles along your spine called the multifidi. Together these all work together and form a cylinder-like system, kind of like a soda can. This is your inner core.
Your inner core system is responsible for regulating your intra-abdominal pressure as well as providing support, control, and stability to the spine and pelvis. In other words, this system is protecting you and preventing you from getting injured or suffering from back pain, hip pain, even knee or ankle pain.
And because most of us aren’t aware of the inner core, our brain isn't telling it to do it’s job... at least not well. This results in other muscles jumping in to “help out” and provide extra stability and support when those core muscles aren’t. And this is no good - this compensation just leads to poor form, overworking certain muscles (maybe that “tightness” that you are feeling), and eventually... pain.
Ok so I hear you already asking, “Why should I care about this, I’m doing just fine with my workouts/running/daily activities?”
Everything might be all fine and good now, but months or years from now all of this compensation may catch up to you. I like to think of it as the foundation of a house... if you have a massive crack in the foundation you would really never know... you could continue making it pretty with a new roof, fresh paint, beautiful landscaping, etc. Then one day, out of the blue, your basement walls come crumbling down. All the time, money, and effort you put in has now gone to waste. All because (unknowingly) you were ignoring a major underlying issue that would have been very easily spotted by a home inspector or contractor and thus could have been dealt with appropriately, avoiding all of this.
If you have even minor back pain, hip “tightness”, any other aches or pains, had a baby, or had abdominal surgery.... there is a high likelihood you have a crack in your foundation.
So what do you do about it? I recommend seeing a licensed physical therapist for an evaluation to help you determine if there are any red flags present that could lead to an injury in the future and to check to see how well you are able to “connect to your core”. They will then get you back on track as well as provide you with the education and tools to prevent anything happening in the future.
At Empower PT & Pilates, we offer a Free Discovery Session to get you started. No commitment needed - we just want to help you down the right path to staying injury-free and active lifelong.
Have questions you want answered? Comment below, chat with us, or fill out this form to schedule a free 15 minute phone call with a PT!
Do you find yourself wondering how and when you got so old?
Are you waking up each morning finding it harder and harder to get out of bed?
Does it take you a while to get moving in the morning or after sitting too long?
You’re not alone!
This happens to a lot of people as they enter into their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.
So why does this happen…
There are 2 big reasons so many people experience joint stiffness or pain as they age.
As we enter into each decade of life we are compounding years and years of less than optimal posture, bad habits, and lots of wear and tear on our joints.
We enter into our 20’s and 30’s and begin careers and families that take up most of our time and usually lead to us being much less active. We run our kids around and sit behind desks for 8-10 hours a day. Even if we are engaging in regular exercise (which is of course good for you), our muscles do more sitting than moving and therefore they are not as cooperative as we need them to be during that run or weight lifting session.
This leads to compensation and a host of other problems.
Our muscles become less and less supportive of our joints and that’s when they begin to yell and scream each morning or throughout the day.
Another big reason for joint stiffness that the traditional healthcare system won’t tell you about is that our diets and environments have become more toxic than ever, leading to excessive and chronic inflammation in the body.
That inflammation in our joints does not feel good and leads to stiffness and pain.
The average American's diets consist of processed foods including chemicals, dyes, and sugar... foods that lack any real nutrients. This all-too-common diet is also full of inflammation-causing foods like gluten, dairy, and meat.... with far too few nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables.
All of this puts stress on our body’s immune system creating chronic inflammation throughout the body. The problem is, most people just accept this as a fact of aging and think that they just have to live with it!
And I’m here to tell you that is absolutely NOT the truth.
Here at Empower, we help people every day to learn how to move better, stay active, and create healthy lifestyle habits which promote quick recovery and renewed vitality.
In fact, let me tell you about my client Mike.
He was experiencing joint stiffness every single morning. This stiffness had gotten so bad that he had to take a hot shower and spend a few minutes stretching just to get moving in the morning. He has an active job and an active lifestyle but had to be very careful not to push his limits... or else he would pay for it for days and sometimes weeks afterward. He began avoiding the things he had previously loved - like hiking 14ers and running - because of this.
After working with us, not only does Mike no longer need to stretch AT ALL to get going in the morning... but he is more active for longer periods of time (with NO pain the next day) than he was 10 years ago!
So my question is, are you going to be one of those people that just accept pain or stiffness as a part of aging?
Or are you going to be like Mike - searching for a real solution NOW, so that you can enjoy the life you imagined for years to come...
If you have a little bit of hope and believe that you have more active years ahead of you - and want to really enjoy them - then I would love for you to apply for our free Discovery Session. We will answer all your questions about Physical Therapy, learn more about you and the lifestyle you want to lead, and together create an individualized plan to get you there.
It's a quick 30 minute session with an expert Physical Therapist, it's FREE, and you can schedule a virtual session too - no commute necessary!
There's no reason to wait. Apply for your Free Discovery Session today.
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.
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!
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