Monday, February 28, 2011

Pilates for Posture

Good posture can make you look slimmer (or perhaps I should say that poor posture makes you look lumpier than you are). It also effects the way you are perceived by others. Good posture conveys confidence and subtly demands respect from those you interact with.

I've been guilty of poor posture for a long time. When I was young I was embarrassed about my quick-to-grow breasts and often slouched. Seems silly in hindsight, but adolescence is so irrational. A bit later I was diagnosed with a slight scoliosis (curvature of the spine). I was never advised to wear a brace or anything, however, so it's not really a good excuse either. Now that I'm taking a complete look at my fitness level, my bad posture is a real concern. Not only do I have to build up muscle strength to support the goal of sitting/standing/moving around with an upright spine, I also have to reverse two decades of bad habit. I'm still trying to devise strategies for the psychological work, but the physical work is well within reach. One of my tactics is pilates.

Pilates is well known for it's ability to strengthen your "core." This area of the body includes, but is not limited to the abdominal area. Pilates also builds up the muscles in your back that help you maintain good posture. The routine I've been using for a few weeks is below. It's a good workout that will definitely have you feeling the burn in your abs and some parts of your legs & butt.

Less is More Pilates with Lizbeth Garcia, Length: 21:28

The above is great, but I've definitely plateaued with it. I no longer feel sufficiently challenged by the workout and, as any informed fitness seeker knows, if you aren't being challenged your body isn't changing. In addition, I didn't feel the above gave my back a good enough workout. My solution was to switch to the more advanced routine below. This one is really tough and works the back better than any pilates workout I've done before. I find myself having to rest a bit during a set or modify moves, which is humbling, but it's a signal that it's hitting my weak spots and allowing me to make progress. What I'm really hoping for is the strength that I might otherwise get from weight training (which I do as well), but without the added bulk.

Pilates Power Workout with Jessica Smith, Length: 21:38

1 comment:

  1. ballet is also really good at keeping you aware of your posture..