Change begins with movement, and Movement heals
Modern lifestyles are getting more and more sedentary, with an adverse effect on our health. Pilates is one way to combat this.
Are you sitting down? You may want to, just for a few seconds while you read this next bit anyway.
Did you know the average person sits 12 hours per day?
Shocking, isn't it? If you haven't fallen off your chair yet, read the next bit.
Since 1950, sedentary jobs have increased by 83%. So more and more of us are stuck in this situation where our chairs have become our closest (and not necessarily best) friend.
We hope you'd be concerned enough right now and start standing up and walk around the room...
Sedentary lifestyle affects health
The natural next thought is how so many hours of sitting could possibly affect our health. According to the WHO, our sedentary lifestyles increase the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety. That does not paint a very pretty picture.
...60 to 85% of people in the world—from both developed and developing countries—lead sedentary lifestyles, making it one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time. It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of children are also insufficiently active, with serious implications for their future health. - WHO
Just ask your body how it feels when you've had a long day at work in front of the computer. Tight, restricted, wound up, sore, numb. Now think about the last time you went out to nature and spent the day hiking, or if you´ve been to the beach recently and had a nice long walk and a bath in the waters. Now how did your body feel then? It probably wanted more of that experience! And what about your mind? You probably felt a lot more alert, refreshed and simply...happy.
Our modern lives plus our technological devices unfortunately entrap us both physically and mentally, even as it makes processes more efficient and easier. The main physical movement you'd notice in the average human is the act of switching from the computer to the mobile phone. Mentally, it puts us in a digital space where we are disconnected from our surroundings and how our bodies are feeling. Stress, anxiety, feeling numb, dull are quite typical feelings when we go through the routine of work-home-work-home day after day.
So basically, we're all sitting down for way too long, hunched over, physically uncomfortable and feeling miserable. What can we do to change that?
What can Pilates do to help?
Change happens through movement and movement heals. - Joseph Pilates
Joseph Pilates got this all figured out (a long long time ago). Movement heals, and Pilates offers a solution to combat the negative effects of our sedentary lifestyles. Those of us who live in big cities may not have the most convenient access to beautiful, lush mountains for a hike or delicious warm waters to bathe in, but there is still something we can do to manage this.
And here is where Pilates comes in.
Pilates is a complete exercise because it not only works the body physically on the level of muscles, joints and bones, it also benefits the mind. Recently, we stepped in to support mental health in Japan through Pilates and started a free or donation-based Pilates classes twice a month so people could benefit from Pilates and achieve a better mental state.
Pilates can help us feel whole and connected again and strengthen the mind-body connection. That has always been an important value at My body My Pilates. When Helen Zhang, the founder of My body My Pilates started the studio, it was really clear to her that Pilates can help people achieve complete wellbeing. She has experienced it herself and is living an even fuller life now than when she was much younger.
Pilates is one of the most balanced exercise regimes you can do, and it's not too 'soft' nor too high-impact, and the beauty of it is Pilates can be tailored to what you need and how your body condition is at any given moment. It really is the perfect exercise for everyone because it can be adjusted to what you need, whether it is to bring the intensity down a notch or to push it up for a challenge.
Benefits of Pilates
My body My Pilates is located right in the heart of Tokyo, Japan which makes it highly convenient for those working in the city, or for expats and families living or travelling to Japan.
It´s like having good health right on your doorstep, and you don't need to spend time travelling far out just to get your body moving. We all know the Procrastination Monster in our heads is really good at creative excuses for not doing something, even if it´s to better our health. When the body spends so many hours sitting down and hunched over a device, it gets 'comfortable' and goes for what is familiar.
When you're feeling sluggish and are starting to procrastinate, remember this - Move a Muscle, Move a Thought!
And go to a Pilates class!
Your body will enjoy these benefits:
Improve your posture
Increase joint mobility and stability
Strengthen the entire body
Release tension in the body
Improve sports performance
Pilates is for everyone
Something else we love about Pilates is how it´s for everyone in the family, and through different phases of our lives. Children can also benefit from Pilates. They are also subject to the same sedentary lifestyles as adults, with schools increasing the use of technology such as replacing textbooks with tablets. They spend many hours in school, and even after school many continue with extracurricular lessons. When they get home they are again at their desks hunched over doing homework. This can lead to poor posture, many feel tired and listless and find it difficult to focus and concentrate. They are often fidgety and restless and many end up preferring to numb out with video games, which is yet another technological device that stops them from getting up and moving.
Pilates can help children's brains stay active, improve focus and keep them calm and stress-free. Pilates is not an intense workout, so it doesn't hamper their growth and it actually helps improve posture and alignment.
Pilates is also beneficial for expecting mothers and it's a low impact workout that can help increase flexibility, strength and muscle tone. Clients who have gone through our prenatal Pilates can attest to how the Pilates exercises have been useful in helping them get ready for the delivery. Pilates can help expecting mothers to gently stretch their spine and relieve lower back pain. As there is a total mind-body connection, mothers say how they feel more refreshed and have more energy after a session. Breathing the Pilates way also helps mothers to relax for a stress-free pregnancy.
After delivery, mothers love getting back to Pilates to boost their recovery. Postnatal Pilates offers these benefits:
Activate deep core muscles
Strengthen the middle (abdominals, buttocks, back)
Tone the body
Stimulate blood circulation
So there is something for everyone with Pilates. Whether you are a beginner, have some experience, did it in the past and stopped, or you´re looking to complement a sports with Pilates, there is a variety of exercises on all the different apparatus we have in our studio.
Align and feel how stretched out and long your spine can get doing a Swan on the Reformer, or fire up your core with the famous Hundred!
Check out the range of exercises you can experience with Pilates!
So are you ready to heal? It all begins with a movement. And we can´t wait to share with you all the amazing movements in Pilates, and how freeing your body can feel after each session!
Book a Pilates class and start your healing journey here.
Our TOKYO PILATES Studio
Our Pilates studio is at 3 丁目5ー11元麻布 1/F Pilates Studio, Block C Majes Motoazabu Gardens, 港区 Tokyo 106-0046.
Contact My Body My Pilates to discuss your Pilates exercises.