How yoga and pilates can help to reduce back pain
The most effective way to reduce back pain is frequent exercise. In my case, exercises recommended to me by a physiotherapist have improved my health condition a lot. However, after a couple of months, performing the same exercises again and again became repetitive and boring. I needed something which would help me to maintain my achieved results, and avoid reoccurrence of my condition – that is why I started attending yoga and pilate classes. Most people have heard something about yoga. It is a physical class based on assuming specific positions (asanas) aimed at stretching muscles as much as possible. Pilates is an exercise system newer than yoga and is aimed at strengthening abdominal and back muscles so that they can support the whole skeleton.
Group classes with an instructor have an advantage over home exercise because it is easier to stay motivated, and in general it is easier to exercise with instruction. Even if you prefer to exercise alone at home, it would be worth attending at least a few classes to master exercise technique – which is crucial. In my case, by attending classes I have met many nice people, and most of them started to attend classes for the same reason as I did – they were suffering from back pain and sought relief, along with a desire to take better care of their health.
There is usually a wide age range, so you do not have to be worried about being either too old or too young. No one laughs at beginners when they do something incorrectly, and the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed. Classes usually last for around an hour, and should start with a warm up. In yoga, it is important, perhaps the most important, to have a proper breathing technique (just through your nose, whereas in Pilates you inhale through the nose, but exhale through the mouth). Doing exercises (asanas) you need to remember about breathing all the time. One of the people who practices yoga is Bear Grylls, ex-commando and host of the Discovery channel series ‘Born Survivor: Bear Grylls’. It is notable that the man who travels in some of the most inaccessible regions of the planet and is able to walk on his hands also suffers from back pain - caused by a failed parachute jump. One thing which helped him to overcome the pain is regular yoga lessons, which he still takes part in.
Yoga classes help you to stretch and extend your body, and in general there is no contraindication. Like in all exercises, it is important to perform yoga systematically. Exercising once a week for an hour will bring marginal, if any, results. At most, you will feel a little tired. I am attending yoga classes twice a week and Pilate’s classes once a week, in addition to other physical activity. It has been a year since I started attending these classes, and I am feeling much better than I did at the beginning.
Pilates is a form of activity which over the last few decades has continued to gain popularity all over the world. It is popular because it helps to shape your figure, while simultaneously helping people with back problems. Special balls (big and small) are often utilized during Pilates classes, and as already mentioned, they help to strengthen abdominal and back muscles which support our entire skeleton. Personally, after Pilates classes I feel wonderful even though I sweat heavily during classes, and every stomach muscle hurts!
One of the main goals of Pilate’s classes is to strengthen abdominal muscles. From my experience, women make up the majority in Pilates classes as they are more attentive than men regarding taking care of the body. It is hard for men to convince themselves to participate in such classes. In my opinion, if Pilates can help you to improve your health, you should try to overcome your prejudices and attend classes – even if you are a man! You can even try to convince a friend and go together. Pilate’s classes are more available nowadays, and even in the small town where I live there are already a couple of sport centres offering yoga and Pilates classes.
To summarize, it is worth attending Pilate’s classes supervised by an instructor, and it is certainly worth doing the exercises systematically. It is form of activity which keeps you motivated to exercise and take care of your back, as well as positively contributing to the general health of your entire organism.