09 Aug 5 Reasons Pilates Is Perfect for Pregnancy
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful and life-changing moments in a woman’s life, but it’s one that takes a massive toll on the body too. Whether you are at the beginning of your pregnancy journey or on the road to recovery, your body is bound to face some challenges. Whatever stage you’re in, Pilates is a life-changing practice that prepares you physically (and mentally!) for the changes and shifts that will come your way during this crucial time in your life.
Super mums Juhee Yi and Chiara Scaglia talk with us about their experience practicing pre and postnatal Pilates, and why they believe every mum and mum-to-be should do it too. Here are five reasons Pilates is the perfect workout to try before, during and after pregnancy.
1. Pilates is a low-impact but highly effective workout
There is no need to pressure yourself to do intense exercises during pregnancy. Your body is going through enough as it is! What is important is to stay healthy and to keep moving at a pace that works for you. Pilates is great for this because while it is a low-impact workout, it is highly effective in building strength, toning muscle and improving flexibility — all of which will be helpful to you as you prepare to give birth.
“Practicing Pilates allowed me to keep moving, and to stay strong, flexible and grounded during a time where the body is going through incredible shifts,” Chiara says. “I would recommend that women start Pilates before pregnancy so that they are able to understand the basics of the practice and then be able to keep active during pregnancy and after giving birth.”
As for post pregnancy, Juhee cautions against jumping back into your regular workout routine so soon. Instead, she recommends adopting a postnatal Pilates regimen to assess your body’s specific needs and ensure that it recovers accordingly. “Even if you feel completely fine, it takes the organs time to return to their original size and function. Also, our hormones are different, especially with breastfeeding,” she says. “I recommend having a certified Pilates instructor to help you customize appropriate exercises for your body type. Listening to your own body is important. Don’t push yourself too hard while your body is recovering.”
2. Pilates strengthens your core muscles and helps relieve back pain
Lower back pain is one of the most common symptoms women complain about during pregnancy. And understandably so. As your belly grows, your body’s center of gravity shifts forward. In addition, women, on average, gain about 25 to 35 pounds during the course of pregnancy. All this added weight naturally puts a strain on your muscles, joints and spine, leaving you with a sore and achy back.
Practicing Pilates is a great way to combat this because it focuses heavily on strengthening your core. “Pilates works by focusing on and developing strength of the deeper intrinsic muscles of our core, which we easily lose during pregnancy,” Juhee says. By building your abdominal muscles, you are less likely to experience back pain during pregnancy. In addition, practicing Pilates helps improve your balance, mobility and breathing, which can ease tension throughout the body.
3. Pilates corrects your posture and alignment post-pregnancy
Postural misalignment is an issue many women experience postnatally. Pilates exercises are great for correcting such misalignments — in the spine and throughout the body — making it perfect for women recovering from childbirth.
Juhee shares which Pilates exercises helped her the most during her own recovery: “Reformer footwork is a good exercise to check our body alignment,” she says. “Standing arm exercises also help with posture and opening up our upper back — something all postnatal women need.”
Pilates can also help you regain strength in your powerhouse post pregnancy. “To get my powerhouse back, I practiced basic Mat and Reformer workouts for around two months,” Juhee says. “These basic workouts are all about building up the powerhouse and fixing body alignment.” She adds, “The Tree exercise is also helpful for equalizing hips and building up the powerhouse.”
4. Pilates helps you recover from childbirth quicker
Practicing Pilates before and during pregnancy can actually help you recover quicker after giving birth. Once you’ve established that strong core and pelvic floor through your Pilates practice, chances are you will bounce back faster.
Chiara says of her experience working with the team of instructors at Flex Studio, “During the first few weeks and months I worked with Heather, Kgosi and Nicole and all of them were incredibly supportive and ensured that I could safely get back into full swing.” She adds, “I was back doing Pilates classes four weeks after giving birth. I believe that having done Pilates regularly before getting pregnant and during the pregnancy played a big role in having a speedy recovery.”
5. Pilates improves your mood and mental sharpness
Pilates doesn’t just improve your physical health, it does wonders for your mental wellbeing too. Apart from increasing endorphins and boosting your overall mood, Pilates exercises are designed to sharpen focus and improve our mental faculties. Best of all, practicing Pilates can make you happy — and who doesn’t want to be happy?
“Pilates not only helped me to get back into shape,” Chiara says. “More importantly, it made me happy and proud of what my body was able to achieve.”
Calling all mums and mums-to-be! Avail of Flex Studio’s Pre and Post Natal Package valid for the whole month of August! Save over 25% on 1 Private Assessment + 4 Pilates Private Sessions for only HK$3,500. Prepare your body safely and effectively with Flex! Enquire now.