Can Pilates help my bone health ?
There are many components to good bone health and exercise is a key ingredient. Pilates has been shown to be particularly good at helping to strengthen the spine and protect it against bone and muscle loss because of the Pilates emphasis on the core. When we work to strengthen the core in Pilates, we are strengthening the whole trunk area including the lumbar spine.
Maintain good upper body posture with Pilates.
Pilates also has a strong focus on the cervical and thoracic spine, which is lacking in many other exercise forms. The cervical and thoracic spine are vulnerable to diminishing bone density and muscle mass especially post menopause. Pilates can help to maintain bone density and muscle strength in this key area. Losing strength here is the cause of what has been called ‘dowagers hump’.
How much Pilates do I need to maintain or improve my bone health ?
Studies have shown that twice weekly Pilates is effective in helping to maintain and/or improve bone density. The effects on areas of the spine and femur were shown to appear after as little as 12 weeks of Pilates. Pilates was also shown to be more effective than Yoga and HIT for this outcome.
Is Pilates all I need for my bone health ?
Bone health at menopause and post menopause is affected by more than the very helpful push / pull actions, resistance work and core work of Pilates. We also need some weight bearing cardio like regular walking. We need to watch our diet to help protein intake and uptake and support our changing hormone levels. Sleeping well, eating well and taking good supplements helps our bodies to repair and regenerate at a cellular level.
Where can I find Pilates and other resources.
Here at Turning Tide we are happy to help you turn the tide on your aging bones through Pilates
Many great resources exist to help us navigate to better bone health including Dr Christiane Northrup’s Book “The Wisdom of the Menopause”. Dr Northrup is a big fan of Pilates and according to her latest book “Goddesses never age” she practices Pilates as a corner stone of her prescription for “radiance, vitality, and well-being.
Here in New Zealand we have Dr Wendy Sweet a menopause expert who writes and also runs courses and offers online resources at her website MyMT www.mymenopausetransformation.com