PILATES FOR GOOD POSTURE AND OPTIMAL SPINE HEALTH
by Daphne Mae Obana
A healthy spine is critical to maintaining good posture. Through an assessment done to check posture, perhaps one
shoulder is higher than the other or the pelvis and the trunk are tilted or rotated to one side. While neck or back
problems are common issues associated with poor posture due to muscular imbalances, those are just the tip of the
iceberg. Overtime, these imbalances can have serious impact on the body’s central nervous system. Poor posture can
affect our health from as simple as neck or back pain or strain, to headaches, breathing problems, spinal dysfunction,
scoliosis, joint degeneration, nerve impingement, weakness, and neuropathy, to name a few.
Our spine is one of the most important parts of our body. Our spinal column serves two important functions within the
body. 1) It keeps us balanced and in an upright posture. 2) It houses and protects the spinal cord which is the extension
of the central nervous system (CNS). CNS consists of our brain and the spinal cord.
May it be from injury, inactivity, wear and tear, or overuse, poor movement patterns and body mechanics, stress, as well
as sedentary and poor lifestyle habits, poor posture has a big impact on our health, and it is a must to prioritize
improving our spine health to improve our quality of life. This is where PILATES comes in.
Posture improves through Pilates by adjusting the spine through mobilization and stabilization exercises, with great
emphasis on building strong core and control of movement. Our spine thrives on fluidity and length for nourishment and
better function. Our everyday habits impact our spine health. If you work at a desk or at a sedentary setting, it creates
strains and even joint restrictions and muscle weakness. Forward head and rounded back posture are common and can
result to increased pressure in the neck. Typical postural problems also include slouched, flat or hyperextended back.
These faulty postures can stress or pull muscles, causing musculoskeletal imbalances and pain in the neck, back and
extremities. Also, improper body mechanics and faulty posture through poor home or work ergonomics can damage
spinal structures and contribute to recurrent or chronic pain.
Most of us will experience back or neck pain at some point in our lives. These can cause disability. And although it is not
entirely possible to prevent injuries and pain in our lives, there are steps we can take to reduce the chances of injuries to
occur. A healthy spine makes it easier for the entire body to be in its best health. Through Pilates, the aim is to
incorporate movement toward a healthier lifestyle. Making spinal health an important aspect of our wellness routine
will greatly benefit our overall sense of wellbeing.
Pilates is the best form of exercise for our spine. Flexibility, strength, balance, centering, control, coordination,
endurance as well as proper breathing and concentration are the key principles of Pilates. Mind and body connections
are emphasized by creating awareness of spinal alignment and controlled movement patterns and strengthening of the
postural muscles that support the spine. Pilates exercises teach awareness of the neutral alignments of the spine and
pelvis and strengthen the deep muscles that support our body alignments for better foundation and function, which are
important to help alleviate and prevent pain and disability.
Pilates is a form of spinal rehabilitation. As important as movement and proper exercises are for our health, better
nutrition also help restore proper joint mobility and function. Dehydration makes the body susceptible to strains and
fatigue. Studies have shown that foods high in sugar, fat and salt tend to cause more inflammation. Therefore, for
optimal spine and overall health, workout should be combined with proper nutrition and incorporating healthy habits
such as adequate quality sleep and recovery. Move, sleep, recover, stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced and nutritious
As for the efficacy of Pilates, everyone from growing children, athletes, to working individuals, pregnant women, active
seniors, and people with correctable injuries, we can all take advantage of regular Pilates care for optimal spine health