Pilates postures

The hazards of our modern sedentary lifestyle

Apart from the general optimal functioning of the body i.e. physiologically and basic joint mobility through simple activities such as walking, there is an increased risk of developing health problems such as cancer, reduced insulin sensitivity which is a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, lower back pain, neck stiffness, obesity and restless legs associated with living a sedentary lifestyle.

Your Pilates instructor will teach you good postural alignment techniques for both standing and sitting positions. This will ensure good posture and correct head/shoulder/neck alignment which is essential to prevent chronic neck, shoulder and back problems as well as headaches.

Prolonged sedentary activity such as office work and driving and the associated physical effects can be improved by monitoring and introducing short breaks to stand, stretch, and even do some Pilates postures and exercises.

According to a review study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine regardless of regular exercise “More than one half of an average person’s day is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching television, or working at a computer,” said Dr. David Alter, Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehab, University Health Network (UHN) and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. “Our study finds that despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease.”

In “Recommendations for Physical Activity in Older Adults”, Professor Phillip Sparling and colleagues write: “There is now a clear need to reduce prolonged sitting. Secondly, evidence on the potential of high intensity interval training in managing the same chronic diseases, as well as reducing indices of cardio metabolic risk in healthy adults, has emerged. This vigorous training typically comprises multiple 3-4 minute bouts of high intensity exercise interspersed with several minutes of low intensity recovery, three times a week.

Between these two extremes of the activity spectrum is the mainstream public health recommendation for aerobic exercise… 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more… However, many people, especially in older age groups, find it hard to achieve this level of activity. We argue that when advising patients on exercise doctors should encourage people to increase their level of activity by small amounts rather than focus on the recommended levels. The 150 minute target, although warranted, may overshadow other less concrete elements of guidelines. These include finding ways to do lower intensity lifestyle activity”. Regular Pilates classes and daily practice of Pilates exercises is therefore vital to everyone with or without the extra higher intensity exercise options.

The hazards of our modern sedentary lifestyle were highlighted in a two-part series of Article 7 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published at the beginning of January 2015 where it was suggested that public policy needs to be reassessed to focus on increasing body movement during work hours.


Exercise is Medicine

Almost a third of the world population is categorised as being physically inactive.

Our Pilates courses aim to, amongst other goals for each individual persons Pilates practice, achieve workplace wellness, good posture and rehabilitation as well as encouraging general physical activity for your improved movement and health.

Medical departments worldwide including the Faculty of Life, health sciences and the School of Public Health have and are debating physical movement for improved health and chronic disease prevention.

President of the Faculty of sport and exercise medicine (FSEM) Dr Roderick Jaques comments: “The healthcare agenda has been focused for too long on obesity whilst physical inactivity, a larger health threat, has gone largely unrecognised. Addressing physical inactivity through prescribed exercise provides a fresh approach to the prevention and management of avoidable diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and many common muscular-skeletal conditions. Exercise medicine can also provide sustainable treatment for excess weight, obesity and mental health and it has an enormous application for workplace wellness and rehabilitation. Physical activity being at the core of healthcare and communities is a focus as well as providing a sustainable solution to public health and the pressures facing the NHS.”

The speciality of sport and exercise medicine (SEM) has a key role in developing new approaches to healthcare and promoting population health and works with colleagues in public health, the Department of Health and the NHS to implement policies that enhance health. Physical inactivity is a leading cause of death worldwide and is a major risk factor for chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, and several cancers.

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) UK is asking MPs to recognise physical inactivity as one of the largest health threats in the UK. In its Manifesto to Improve Public Health, the FSEM sets out 8 priorities to put physical activity at the core of the UK’s healthcare system via a national preventative strategy.

The decision-making branch of the World Health Organisation, The World Health Assembly, has adopted combating physical inactivity as a priority objective for global action to help control the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

After 23 years in the NHS, Ann Gates is focussed on getting every GP surgery in the country trained to provide personalised exercise programmes to their patients and a firm believer that exercise is a medicine that improves the health of people with long-term illnesses as well as preventing disease. Ms Gates is convinced that using exercise as a form of treatment will be the most cost-effective measure ever introduced.

Exercise medicine can also provide sustainable treatment for excess weight, obesity and mental health.

To find out more about physical activity and improving your health visit the Live Well page of the NHS website.