Apple or Pilates: Keeping the Doctor Away

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2013-08-05
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Apples and Pilates may have more in common with keeping us healthy than you’ve ever considered. The benefits of Pilates are far more than creating longer, leaner, stronger muscles. Pilates enhances our bodies ability to fight disease by power charging our cells with oxygenated blood and boosting our lymphatic systems.

Joseph Pilates referred to this as the “internal shower”, created by his method of exercises. He believed that by using the breath properly during controlled movement one could relieve themselves of “stuck” toxins that contribute to illness.

Essentially the internal shower is exactly what you imagine: rinsing and cleansing your insides with breath and movement. We take millions of breaths in a day but most of our breathing is unconscious and does not utilize our diaphragm to its fullest capacity. During a Pilates class or private lesson, breath is always a major component. In fact, learning to breathe fully and deeply is the first STOTT PILATES® principle. Breathing deeply and 3 dimensionally, as is discussed in STOTT PILATES®, accesses the full capacity of our diaphragm, also called abdominal breathing. During abdominal breathing you activate the vagus nerve, this action creates a relaxation response in the brain and the body. This is the optimal environment for the body to heal, renew and restore. Imagine if you were always in this state of nerve relaxation, you would never get sick!Breath is just one way that Pilates encourages a healthy and strong immune system. Whenever we exercise, the lymphatic system is stimulated which forces excess waste from our lymph glands and lower extremities. Those toxins are then replaced with nutrients. Our Lymph system is a powerful part of our immune system. Lymph is a plasma-like fluid composed of 90% water and 10% solutes which can be cellular debris, waste, hormones or proteins. The lymph travels through our body, clearing the garbage trapped in our lymph ducts; but in order to do so it needs to be gently pushed. This vital fluid responds to gentle massage, breath and exercise. Pilates delivers the trifecta needed to stimulate the lymph!

So when start to feel a little tickle in your throat or feel fatigued from possible sickness, try getting into class. One hour of controlled exercise with thoughtful breathing might be all your body needs to heal itself.

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