A common issue that adults of all ages struggle with is low back pain. While there are certainly times when spinal issues are the reason, a huge factor that plays a role in low back pain is lack of core strength, spinal mobility, and pelvic stability. If you find your low back starts to get achy and tired after standing or walking for long periods of time, it can often be attributed to your posture. Many of us allow our pelvis to tip forward, arching the low back and putting stress on the lumbar spine. This is called anterior pelvic tilt.
This often pairs with stiffness in our upper, or thoracic, spine- we move our low back too much, and our upper back not enough! Finding time in our day to move the spine in all the directions it’s meant to move keeps our body healthy and mobile. Joseph Pilates once said, “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60 you are young.” His method, originally called Contrology, served as a series of exercises meant to be completed on a daily basis to keep the body limber and strong.
Pilates work is a great opportunity to strengthen the smaller, deeper muscles of the body that help us hold our true, natural posture. Deep abdominals such as your transverse abdominis, upper back muscles like the serratus and lower trapezius, and hip stabilizers like the gluteus medius. These muscles are often overlooked, but incredibly important for proper joint alignment and injury protection. If you strengthen your core and enhance your pelvic stability, you improve your body’s endurance to hold its neutral, healthy position for extended periods of time.
If you can’t make it in to take a class today, what can you do instead? Movements like a seated twist, cat/cow, a standing chest stretch using a doorframe, and glute bridges from the floor are all great places to start. Many of us find ourselves sitting for extended periods of time, so the important part is that you are taking time to move your body!
Chelsea Ratnayake is certified in Balanced Body: Pilates Reformer 1-3, Mat 1-3, Cadillac and Trap Table, Pilates Chair, and Pilates for Breast Cancer. Chelsea holds multiple other certifications and teaches group exercise at our Greenfield and New Palestine locations. Stop and ask her about personal training!