What Is Core Stability?
Core stability relates to the abdominal wall, the pelvis, the lower back and the diaphragm and its ability to stabilise the body during movement. The main muscles involved include:
- Transversus abdominis
- Internal and external obliques
- Quadratus lumborum
Why Is Poor Core Stability A Problem?
Poor core stability is a problem for a couple of reasons. Firstly the support mechanism for the back and pelvis relies on the activation of the core, if this does not happen effectively then the back is placed at an increased risk of shear forces in this area. This can lead to excessive strain placed on the joints and discs of the back and neck which can lead to pain or problems. Secondly the ability to hold a good posture comes from the body’s core strength if this is weakened then poor posture can result.
Alongside this is the ability to produce power and strength both on a day to day basis and during sport. If you have a weak core and centre to the body then you have a wobbly base for your legs and arms to work from, resulting in poor performance.
What Is Body Awareness?
Body awareness is an understanding of our own body and where and how it is moving. The muscles, joints and skin of the body all tell the brain what is happening and how to adapt to the situation. For example if you trip up the body tells your brain what is happening and the brain can then activate the core muscles and leg muscles to respond so you don’t fall.
Why Is Poor Body Awareness A Problem?
Poor body awareness is a problem as you can be in a bad position or not able to react quickly enough to situations which can lead to pain or injury. For example you can be sitting slumped in a chair at your desk and not have the awareness to correct this or you may need to react in a sporting situation to avoid a tackle and not have the body awareness of how to do this effectively.
How Does Pilates Improve Core Stability and Body Awareness?
Pilates improves core stability and body awareness by focusing the exercises to strengthen the core muscles and teach the body to be more aware of its position.
Pilates is very specific on the placement of the body in a good spinal position during each exercise. The repetition of this soon increases the body’s awareness on good positions thus improving body awareness. Once the body has learnt these good positions it is then easily transferred into day to day activities.
You need to have the strength to maintain these good positions and the strength to support the spine and this is where core stability comes in. Pilates exercises work the core muscles in the stomach, back, hips and neck. The more repetition you do and the harder the level of the exercise the more strength you gain in these areas and the more benefits you see.
Pilates is very specific way to strengthen all the muscles which give you power and core support while teaching the body how best to hold itself and react to situations.
To book a place on one of our Pilates classes at Physio.co.uk or to schedule your own one to one session, please call us on 0330 088 7800.