The Best Way to Exercise Your Core… Pilates!

Say “so long!” to hours of sit-ups and crunches. The best way to exercise your core might not be focused, single-body part movement—instead, try a dynamic, whole-body workout to strengthen one of the most important parts of your body. 

“Our deepest core muscle, our TrA, acts as a corset brace as it wraps around your spine,” said  Hayley Speight, a physical therapist assistant at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates. She shared that the mind-body exercise, Pilates, is centralized on core engagement. 

Many people use pilates to target and prevent chronic pain, or when they have experienced an injury. Rehab or modern Pilates, the focus of the workout is keeping a neutral spine. Hayley shared that the goal with patients is to “retrain the core to be able to contract in a neutral position.” 

In traditional Pilates, the exercises focus on pelvic tilts, where the neutral spine is more functional. Exercising your core and being able to move with functional strength and stability can help keep your spine healthy. 

“If you want to increase your core strength, improve your overall functional movements, or reduce your pain, you are a candidate for Pilates,” Hayley says. Because Pilates is low impact, she explained, it’s a good form of exercise for most people. 

However, not all Pilates classes, videos, or instructors are created equal, Hayley said. In order to excel in Pilates, work with an expert to ensure you are practicing the moves safely and effectively.

How can you tell if you’re pushing yourself too hard? If you feel pain in your back or feel your back muscles contracting. This is a sign that your body is compensating and if this occurs during your exercise, Hayley said, you should ask your instructor for help or modifications. 

“Do what feels right for your body and don’t push through pain,” Hayley clarified. “Regardless of your age or activity level, Pilates is a perfect exercise that is not only fun but great for your spine and functional strength.” 

Hayley has been a physical therapy assistant at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates for eight years. Her favorite part of the job is being able to give quality of life back to her patients. 

The practice offers individualized physical therapy care in 6 convenient locations across the Charlotte Metro region and surrounding areas to include Charlotte, Huntersville, Concord, Ballantyne, Matthews, and Rock Hill, SC. 

Patients do not need a referral to schedule a new patient appointment, and all locations are able to offer immediate availability. To schedule an appointment, please call (704) 376-1605 option 3 and select the most convenient location near you or visit them online to request an appointment!

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New and current patients can call our offices to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

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