Ingrid, the physical therapist I’ve been seeing, keeps suggesting I try a Pilates class. She says Pilates is the best exercise for strengthening the core. Core strength is the path to eliminating back pain.
Core exercises train the muscles in the pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work together. According to a post on the Mayo Clinic website, “Any exercise that involves the use of your abdominal and back muscles in coordinated fashion counts as a core exercise.”
Twice a week, for the past eight weeks, Ingrid has shown me how to strengthen my core. My back is better. Unless I twist or move too fast, I’m pain free. I no longer have sciatica. Upon her recommendation, I’ve been doing the exercises—twenty reps each, twice a day—and getting great results.
Suck in Your Abs!
Paying close attention to form is essential. Even thought I’ve been strength training and stretching for years, subtle adjustments in my form has made a huge difference. The biggest challenge has been keeping my spine straight and sucking in my abs—all the time. No matter what I’m doing.
According to the little I’ve read about Pilates, I’m already doing some of the basics. With abs sucked in tight and navel drawn toward the spine, I’ve learned how to breathe properly. And, I’ve been using a Pilates ring to strengthen my hip abductor and adductor, and to side-step like a football player. I’m doing the wall chair. Did I mention that my abs are sucked in the entire time?
If I do all the nineteen exercises and stretches Ingrid has prescribed, it takes me about 40 minutes to do one set. I usually do them at the gym, but I have everything I need to do them at home. The essentials include a yoga mat, 2.5-pound ankle weights, 4-pound hand weights, a yoga ring, stretchy bands, and a 10-inch squishy ball.
Exercises to get you started
If you want to check out some Pilates exercises, there are plenty of free online workouts. Here’s one to get you started.
Click here if you want to work on your core.
I still have a few sessions of PT left. I’m looking forward to giving Pilates a try.