Exercise is one of the best ways to build bone mass and improve posture and alignment. Pilates develops balanced muscles through weight-bearing and whole-body exercises that are joint-friendly and build strong bones.
What does joint friendly mean?
Our sedentary lifestyles and underlying postural habits developed from our activities, or lack thereof, accumulate and affect our overall health. We’ll look at how this creates compression on our joints and makes it difficult, if not painful to move. We’ll look at how gentle whole-body focused weight-bearing exercises can actually create space between joints and strengthen our bones.
Weight-bearing and weight training exercises have been shown to help build strong bones and improve joint health. This is because of Wolff’s law. According to Wolff’s Law: in order to increase bone mass, exercises must put greater stress on the bone than which it has become accustomed. In response, the bone density, over time, will remodel itself to become stronger. The reverse is also true and why weak joints, and symptoms of stiffness or soreness, get worse with inactivity.
What is compression?
Have you ever experienced stiffness or soreness, tenderness, swelling, aching, and even pain in joints? It’s probably due to inflammation caused by compression and/or misalignment in your joints.
Compression means the loss of the space between your joints and vertebrae. This space, called a joint cavity, allows for movement at the joint and is incredibly important for your body’s ability to absorb shock. This shock can come from a variety of different activities. It can come from gravity’s weight bearing down on our poor posture. From movement patterns that create a misalignment in our joints. And it can even come from being extremely active, like running in a marathon, and that repetitive pounding effect on our joints.
When we have space between our joints and vertebrae, we experience movement as fluid and with ease. In short, loss of mobility and flexibility in the body is due to compression of the joints.
How Does Pilates Help?
Exercise itself helps strengthen the muscles that hug and support our joints and bones. Each Pilates exercise establishes this muscle integrity and stability in our joints. By engaging the muscles that provide stability when we move we can find the ease of movement to keep us exercising. That continued exercise then puts stress on our bones which in turn remodel themselves to become stronger so that we can keep moving!
This sequence is important because any exercise can (and should!) be modified in order to maintain optimal alignment for our joints and posture. It should further challenge oneself to keep working harder, placing different kinds of stress on the bones in order to make them respond and get stronger. Overall joint-friendly movement maintains bone density.
The Pilates method is a progression of exercises that can be modified by changing the lever load, range of motion, or base of support.
In an example, practice kneeling plank to build correct shoulder alignment and strength before progressing to full plank.
The Take Away
In order to increase bone mass, exercises must put greater stress on the bone than which it has become accustomed. The Pilates sequence of exercises, through its focus on alignment, is joint-friendly and builds strong bones. Following a fitness routine that includes Pilates will not only remodel your body tone and muscle definition, but your bones will become stronger as well!
Check out our Pilates classes to build better bones today.
THE INFORMATION EXPRESSED ON THIS SITE IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. WE DRAW ON OUR EXPERTISE AS PILATES AND MOVEMENT SPECIALISTS BY EXPANDING OUR PROFESSIONALISM THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. WE AIM TO PROVIDE VALUABLE INFORMATION CONCERNING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PILATES, FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT, AND FITNESS. YOU TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL DECISIONS NOW OR IN THE FUTURE CONCERNING YOUR HEALTH, LIFE, AND WELL-BEING. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT TO BE USED AS MEDICAL ADVICE EITHER TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE OR AILMENTS. YOU SHOULD CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM.