This blog post was written during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic
Lockdown has become a more permanent change in our lives. The effects of reduced social interaction with friends and family and being limited to how many times you can leave the house, can really start to have an impact; not only our daily routine but our mental health.
Prolonged isolation can leave us with feelings of loneliness, anxiety and boredom.
This list could go on and on: lack of productivity, increased procrastination, uncertainty of when life will return to how we once knew it, being unable to see and make plans with loved ones and so on…
All this emotion can lead to big changes in our behaviour, resulting in a reduction or increase in certain habits. I’ve heard a lot from people that boredom is leading them to increased comfort eating and more snacking throughout the day. Motivation for doing daily exercise is dipping and it’s scary how we can fall into the habit of just doing nothing, purely because it’s easier.
But hidden in this daunting experience, comes an opportunity. Try new things… and if Pilates has always been on the list of those things you wanted to do, but never got round to, or didn’t know if you would like it… then here are 5 reasons why you should give it a go whilst you’re in lockdown.
1. Strengthen your mind and body connection.
Pilates aims to connect the mind to what the body is doing and focuses on improving our proprioception. So… really learning to understand the position of the body and how it is moving.
This perception doesn’t always come naturally and does need to be practiced.
Which makes this type of movement so mindful.
Thinking about your joint stability as well as mobility, the counterbalance and range within the body… it doesn’t leave much time for the mind to wander or overthink.
Which can only be a positive especially during our current situation.
2. Practicing good movement.
Fed up with getting aches and pains?
Pilates looks at your range and gets your bones and joints to move as efficiently as possible.
Now this can be challenging; with potentially years of bad movement habits, injury or surgery means our joints and movement can become unbalanced. Resulting in pain, inflammation and even creating a knock-on effect to a different part of the body.
Moving efficiently helps to realign and strengthen the body; reducing stiffness and pain, whilst improving joint mobility and imbalances in the body.
If you’re not convinced yet… the exercises we do in Pilates allows us naturally stretch through our movements, to release tight muscles and strengthen weaker ones. The emphasis is not on stretching per-say, rather just moving to your range which means that each exercise is comfortable and safe. With regular practice, flexibility increases as a result.
The more you practice, the more you will notice the difference.
“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body” – Joseph Pilates
3. In these strange times we now have more time to try new things.
Choose how you want to spend your time at home. As mentioned before it is so easy to fall into a slump and let productivity go down. But more time at home gives a golden opportunity to try new things, take up new hobbies and to work on other areas of your life that took a back seat before.
If you always wanted to do a Pilates class but didn’t have time… could have been for various reasons: long work hours or a busy home life? Then this is the perfect chance to at least give a class a go.
So many teachers are now offering online Pilates classes as we can’t teach face-to-face for the foreseeable future. And that leads to the next point…
4. Easy access and even better it can so easily be done in the comfort of your own home.
Trying an online class is super easy and requires minimal effort… you don’t have to leave the house, there’s no travel involved and you can even have a cuppa by your side.
All you need to do is put on some comfy, flexible clothing, grab a mat or a rug and you’re set.
The perfect thing about Pilates matwork is that you can do it anywhere with little or no equipment as so many exercises are focused on using your own body as a resistance.
In my classes all we need is a mat and a thin cushion to go behind the head, then occasionally we use stretch bands, tennis balls and thicker head cushion, and if you don’t have some or all of those then you can easily substitute them out… For example a band can be swapped for a scarf, use thick and thin cushions or pillows for head cushions.
Other equipment like balls, rollers and toning circles are super fun to use and does add more of a challenge to the movement as it requires even more awareness. Which does takes your Pilates practice to that next level, but it isn’t essential and learning the fundamentals (most of the time) is so much better when it’s just you and the mat.
5. Gives a healthy distraction and provides another opportunity for socialising.
As mentioned, all the lockdown restrictions can be causing prolonged feelings of anxiety, loneliness and uncertainty in so many of us.
Pilates is not only a mindful activity, which is amazing in combating anxiety but also depression as it releases endorphins. Endorphins are the happy hormones that are released when you exercise, they promote positivity and give you that sense of achievement. Being active can make you feel more productive, which can only lead to a variety of more positive behaviours throughout the day: less procrastination, reduced cravings and comfort / boredom eating to name a few.
So many of my clients have said that the online classes are not only keeping their bodies and minds healthy but it also gives another opportunity for socialising and to see familiar faces each week. Even in local face-to-face classes, they are so social, it is so lovely to mingle with people. And it really is the best job I could ask for.
So there are 5 pretty good reasons why Pilates could become one of your new hobbies during this lockdown, and to continue with once the world has returned to normal.
I do run online Pilates classes on Mondays and Wednesdays mornings.. open to all!
If I have convinced you and you would like to give a class a go…
Each class is £5 but for May 2020 I am offering 6 classes for £25. Drop me an email or complete the contact form on the Connect page to book!