Part of my integrated approach as a health and wellbeing consultant includes Pilates & Movement. Movement is an essential part of life. Restricted movement can have a detrimental effect on our mind and mood.
But what have hormones got to do with Pilates and why do I need to consider them and their impact on my students when I’m teaching?
Hormones - why they're important and why do I consider it when I'm teaching Pilates or when I'm doing my massage or other therapies?
Hormones, (in case you weren't aware) are the chemical messages in your body. Their job is to send information to the different organs in the blood to help with regulating our body temperature. They also help with sending information and signals to let us know things like:
Am I hungry? When to eat?
Am I thirsty?
Am I tired? When to sleep?
For your heart to beat
And your metabolism - how much energy do you have for the body to be able to digest food?
These are all things that happen automatically without you having to think about it. In fact, all the different processes that happen in your body require information and messages, and hormones are the chemical messengers that deliver that information through the body’s information system, which is called the endocrine system.
In Kinesiology and in my other treatments, I check that the messaging system (endocrine) is working correctly and if not, I look at how we can help it with regards to any imbalances through the organs.
But why is it important for me to take this into account when someone is doing Pilates?
When the system and your body is balanced, then all the muscles will work effectively, they will be able to switch on and switch off (lock and unlock) when asked to.
Often in Pilates, what I see is people working really, really hard. Putting in loads of effort to be able to produce a movement - pull on that bar, lift that weight, or just lift their body. And I find that I am saying to my clients “less is more - do you really need to work that hard to achieve that move?”
Very often the reason for this over excursion is that there is an information overload in the system, and actually the muscle that is being over-exerted is doing so because its other ‘teammates’ are not activated and helping out at all to lift that weight or hold the body.
When those structural imbalances become apparent, then my job is to identify what is the body doing? Where is there excess? Where is there not enough work going on in the muscles? And how can we get it so that the body is cooperating and working effectively.
Whilst Pilates yoga, any type of movement activity is really good to get the body going, it's just one piece of the puzzle. So again in a session with my clients, we consider why is it that a muscles seems to be weak or hurt or why there is pain. And pain can come in two forms – the first is that the muscle has not been used for quite a while. The second is an acute or chronic pain which is very different. That is a slight over-simplification, but those are the chemical messages that are going through our bodies. It’s the sensation that says “Don’t rub me or move me because I hurt” is coming from our messenger system.
And it’s important to understand whether your whole endocrine or nervous system messenger is on a high alert, so any small movement that causes pain or if you have a condition that is impacted by that, for example, fibromyalgia, are key considerations, along with movement, your emotions, your mindset, your diet, your lifestyle – all of these different areas have an impact on your endocrine system and your ability to operate and carry on with your everyday life and activities.
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