Reflux, Heartburn Pain

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Who Knew? Pilates is great for digestion

12 Mar 2013
Who Knew? Pilates is great for digestion News image

Movement is incredibly powerful in preventing disease processes says Sally Anderson.

The Pilates method offers the ultimate science-based, impact free way to move in all ranges and for all needs.  

Pilates movement can restore function to organs, muscles, joints, and bones – without drugs or surgery.  

The best way to gain the benefits of movement for health is in a preventative capacity.  

Pilates, now a popular form of exercise Australia-wide, reduces stress and anxiety levels, which are related to digestive disorders.  

The Pilates method aims to improve whole body health. Exercises are designed to not only work the body physically but also to stimulate internal organs, aid elimination of toxins, increase capacity of the lymphatic and respiratory systems, balance hormonal systems, strengthen the cardiovascular system and build strength and endurance in all tissues of the body.  

Indigestion, heartburn and reflux are common, often painful conditions in adults. They can be caused by several different ailments.  

Reduce irritation within the gut  

To aid digestion you should include Pilates exercises that extend the torso – like the Swan exercise.  

Simply lie on your front, forearms beside your shoulders, and press up onto your elbows. This will lengthen your digestive tract and stimulate food processing.  

If your digestion is feeling sluggish or overloaded, increasing movement to aid detoxification greatly assists the body to waste product and toxins, thereby allowing the digestive system to calm and reduce the inflammatory effect of overload. This sequence of Pilates mat exercises done daily will help stimulate detoxification through their action on the lymphatic and digestive systems.  

Studies have shown that undertaking Pilates exercise regularly will aid digestive efficiency and reduce irritation within the gut.  

It is believed that the “visceral massage effect” of select Pilates exercises assists in improving elimination, thereby lowering “aggravational” toxins and matter in the digestive system.  

Flexible exercise system  

Joe Pilates, founder of the Pilates method of exercise, wrote 60 years ago that: “The complete inhalation and exhalation of air stimulates all muscles into greater activity.”  

It has since been proven that oxygen is the energy that is required for type 1 muscle fibres (“tonic muscles”) to work.  

The Pilates method teaches you to  “breathe laterally” to expand the capacity of the lungs and breath completely. Joseph Pilates was definitely ahead of his time.

Pilates is an extremely flexible exercise system. Modifications to the exercises allow for a range of difficulty ranging from beginning to advanced.  

So why wait for injury or illness to affect you before getting moving? No matter what state of health or fitness you are in, you can start Pilates and enjoy the benefits of health and wellness.  

A properly trained teacher will provide a workout that best suits you now, and increase the intensity as your body conditioning improves.  

* Sally Anderson is the founder and director of Pilates International Pty Ltd. She is also the founding president of the industry peak body, the Pilates Alliance Australasia. Sally has trained famous athletes, dancers, and celebrities including Olympic swim stars Eamon Sullivan, Andrew Lauterstein and Libby Trickett as well as singers Ian Moss and Dave Bryan (Bon Jovi). She has toured nationally with Cirque du Soleil as their Pilates expert trainer.

She is the driving force behind Pilates International Training Centre (Pilates ITC), the first and only Pilates Registered Training Organisation in Australia. Their online courses are now available. 

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