So far, only a few researches showing the benefits of Pilates have been published (the first one in 2006, only). However, whoever tries Pilates will be convinced that it improves: Posture, breathing, balance, deep muscles strength, releases lower back pain.

There are also some clues that Pilates improves immune system, digestive system, respiratory system, as well as lymphatic and cardio-vascular systems.

How Pilates enhance immune system and may help to fight against diseases?

Stress and anxiety have negative effects on the immune system. “Physical activity is the first pre-require to happiness” said Joseph Pilates. Exercise help to release the “extra” energy or stress accumulated. When we exercise, we don’t think about anything else as we are focussing on the movement and correct technique. From a scientific point of view, when practicing exercise, brain releases endorphin, which is known as the hormone of happiness. Recent research has shown that endorphins released through exercise increase the number, percentage and effectiveness of the immune cells.

How Pilates benefits on the digestive system?

Australian Pilates instructor, Sally Anderson explains that a regular practice of Pilates reduces irritation within the gut. Exercises based on lengthening the spine and extending torso help to relieve compression on the internal organs, which may help to prevent digestive problems by stretching the digestive track. Sally says that many Pilates exercises have a massage effect on the organs, which help to remove toxins and waste on the digestive tract. One of the great exercises known for that is the “stomach massage”.

How Pilates benefits on the respiratory system?

Breathing improves the flow of oxygen in the body. Most of the people breathe from the chest, this means that they only use about 1/3rd of their lung capacity. Pilates thoracic breathing uses lung full capacity (more oxygen is brought to the lower lobes of the lungs). By extending more the air capacity in the lungs, Pilates breathing brings more oxygen to muscles. Slow and deep breathing decreases stress and increases relaxation, which can also help to reduce blood pressure.

How Pilates benefits to the lymphatic system?

Pilates deep breathing and muscle contractions activate the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system has many functions such as carrying toxins and other wastes away from the body, supporting immune system or delivering oxygen, nutrients and hormones to the body’s cells. Lymphatic system does not have any particular organ acting as a pump but depend on muscles contraction and breathing. The more we move, the more lymph is circulating faster.

How Pilates benefits on the cardio-vascular system?

Pilates breathing releases stress, which is good for the heart. Besides that, Pilates fluidity of movement improves muscle stretch. Knots appear on tight muscles, and these are blocking blood flow. When muscles are stretched, knots are released and blood circulation improves. Relaxed muscles (muscles without tear, trigger points or tiredness) are moving easily through a full range of motion. Moving easily requires less effort for the body and gives less pressure on the heart.

Kathy Babolat – 2013-07-21