If you have heard anything about Pilates, you have probably heard it makes your core stronger, gets you toned and increases your flexibility. Something you may not have heard is that Pilates makes you smarter - as in more intelligent, improved cognitive function!
Pilates can make you smarter by increasing your attention, motivation and your ability to achieve more. It may also improve your overall mood and reduce your stress, anxiety and fatigue. Who knew you could be physically and mentally stronger just by practicing Pilates?! Check out these 4 ways Pilates makes you mentally stronger and why you should try it.
The 6 Principles of Pilates & Why They Matter
Many of the six principles that serve as the foundation of Pilates relate back to the elements of human cognitive function and can aid in the improvement of these functions. The principles are as follows:
- Concentration - focus on the mind-body connection to establish more mental and physical benefits from the workout
- Centering - use your core (Pilates Powerhouse) muscles to help your body's muscles function and develop more efficiently
- Control - make precise, controlled, correct movements for maximum benefits
- Breathing - control your breathing to include full exhalations as each exercise is performed helps with muscle activation and helps with mental focus
- Precision - work toward the ideal execution of the exercise
- Flow - ensure that each motion is smooth
Related: not only can Pilates help increase cognative function, but these 6 principles can also help with other sports performance, like golf! Check out this recent post to see how you can get a better golf swing with Pilates.
Pilates Can Reduce Anxiety & Increase Attention, Motivation & Achievement
So how does regularly practicing Pilates and the principles of Pilates help decrease anxiety and stress and improve your attention, motivation and overall cognitive function?
Pilates helps reduce your anxiety by:
- Increasing your body energy
- Increasing sleep quality
- Making your body more comfortable
- Encouraging proper breathing
- Improving blood and oxygen circulation flow to the brain
- Relaxing your muscles
Pilates helps increase your attention by:
- Increasing the principles of concentration and precision
- Perfecting the controlling of body movement by the brain
- Increasing memory-processing speed
Pilates helps increase your motivation by:
- Improving total mood by performing positive habits and encouraging breathing that helps control emotions
- Increasing vitality and body energy
- Offering satisfaction for the basic psychological needs (competence, autonomy, and relatedness)
- Improving psychological well-being
- Improving self-esteem
- Encouraging the release of a certain neurotransmitter which helps to alleviate physical and mental pain
Pilates improves achievement by:
- Generating new neurons (the foundation of the nervous system)
- Increasing neurotransmitters
- Aiding in the better survival of the neurons responsible for learning, memory, and higher thinking
If you would like to be increase your cognitive function, become “smarter”, and more productive, you should consider incorporating Pilates into your regular exercise routine. Your brain and body will thank you!
Plus, May is National Pilates Month! FFC will be offering an unlimited class program starting May 1. Stop by your club's fitness desk for more information!
Tsedal is a certified Pilates instructor and personal trainer at FFC West Loop. She enjoys teaching people who are new to exercise as well as challenging more experienced athletes. Want to set up a complimentary consultation? Email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!