Bad posture is something many individuals suffer from, particularly affecting those who are deskbound for most of the day. Typical deskside posture issues are indicated by hunched shoulders and a collapsed, weakened core.
A recent study found that deskbound individuals spend just 36 per cent of their working day in good posture, meaning that out of every hour sat at a desk, 38 minutes are spent in bad posture. On top of this, many will spend a significant amount of their free time hunched over electronic devices, which can further contribute to bad posture habits. Now, don’t be mistaken, correcting your posture isn’t something that happens overnight. A great way to combat deskside slouch and improve posture is through physical activities such as Pilates, which can significantly help strengthen your core.
We caught up with Kate Burdett, Head Trainer at new Pilates studio Raw Pilates to discover how Pilates can help you get that perfect posture you’ve been yearning for.
Strengthens your core
One of the main things that Pilates can teach you is how to effectively engage and strengthen core muscles, by using them to support the rest of the body. By doing this, the shoulders are able to relax, and the head and neck can move freely, which will ultimately relieve stress on the hips and lower body, leading to improved posture.
Helps you become more aware of your body
Many individuals confess that they are totally unaware they are slouching, ultimately causing long-term damage to posture. One of the main reasons why Pilates can help improve posture is because it helps you pay attention to your posture and makes you more aware of poor habits. For instance, you may notice that your shoulders hunch over when performing certain Pilates exercises, so you’ll be instructed by the trainers to draw your shoulders back and down, lengthen your spine, engage your abs and breathe deeper. The more you do this, the more it will become a force of habit and you will notice what you are doing wrong in your day to day life, eventually leading to positive changes being made.
Helps you lose weight
Pilates is renowned for muscle toning and weight loss, as it teaches you how to use the correct muscle groups in an exercise and perfect your technique. Now, you’re probably thinking, ‘what does weight loss have to do with improving my posture?’ Put simply, when the abdominal muscles contract, they contract inward towards the organs, creating a strong ‘corset’. Body fat is not only stored just under the skin, but also inside your body and around your organs; also known as visceral fat. Visceral fat can make it difficult to contract your abdominal muscles inwards, as there is less space for them to contract into. So, by having less visceral fat, your core muscles will become more active, and you will have a stronger platform to move and lift yourself, which in turn can contribute to better posture.
Pilates is also a great way to correct imbalances, which has a knock-on effect on your stance. This type of exercise can help you to strengthen and stretch your spine, knees, hips, and shoulders. This will allow you to perform at your best and achieve your desired fitness results without sacrificing your posture.
Boosts confidence levels
Pilates can also be a huge confidence booster. This can then impact your posture and the way you present yourself. Posture is one of the first things I notice when meeting someone new. Poor, hunched-over posture suggests a lack of confidence, whilst a strong upright stance is often attributed to confidence and success. When you stand or sit up taller, your brain will receive a signal that it’s the self-assured you in charge and, in turn, you feel more confident. The apparatus and movements used in Pilates can help participants feel a sense of pride, and this has an impact on the way they present themselves outside the studio.
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Charlotte is a London girl through and through. She sweats through spin and puffs through Pilates to justify trying the latest restaurants and devouring copious amounts of sweet potato fries, burrata and bread – preferably on holiday. Her favourite destinations include Italy, the Maldives and anywhere where the sun’s shining and there’s a strong breakfast buffet. She’s obsessed with walking, visiting farmers’ markets and reading. She’s also learning to cook. Wish her (and her husband) luck.