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Fitness Friday: Diving into the Benefits of Swimming for Pilates Practitioners


Ready to Dive into Wellness: Where Pilates Meets the Poise of Swimming.
Embracing the Flow: A Pilates Practitioner's Journey Begins in the Tranquil Waters

Happy Fitness Friday to all our dedicated Pilates teachers! Today, we're taking a deep dive into the world of swimming. As we navigate through the colder months in the Northern Hemisphere, let's explore how this aquatic exercise, including the invigorating practice of cold water and pool swimming, can positively impact our posture, muscle use, and overall well-being.


The Allure of Aquatic Exercise: Swimming, an ancient and efficient form of exercise, offers a low-impact, high-efficiency workout. It's a full-body exercise that complements the muscle engagement and postural awareness we cultivate in Pilates.


1. Postural Perks in the Pool: Pilates focuses on posture, alignment, and core strength, and swimming naturally promotes a lengthened spine and alignment. The Journal of Physical Therapy Science reports improvements in functional reach and trunk flexor endurance due to swimming (Kim & Yim, 2016), echoing our Pilates goals.


2. Cold Water Wonders: Cold water swimming, though challenging, is increasingly popular for its health benefits. The British Journal of Sports Medicine found that regular cold water immersion can enhance post-exercise recovery and reduce muscle soreness (Bleakley et al., 2012). This can be particularly beneficial for Pilates teachers, aiding in quicker recovery between sessions.


3. Muscular Magic in the Water: Swimming engages various muscle groups, including some less focused on Pilates. The resistance of water makes each stroke a form of resistance exercise, ideal for building strength. According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, swimmers exhibit better muscle symmetry and balance (Wanivenhaus et al., 2012), aligning with Pilates objectives.


4. The Mental Health Boost: Swimming's rhythmic nature and the sensory experience of water can be calming and meditative. Research in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education suggests swimming can reduce stress and improve mood (Cohen et al., 2009), complementing the mindfulness aspect of Pilates.


Embracing Winter Swimming: Overcoming the Chill with Indoor Pools Despite the winter chill, indoor pools at fitness clubs offer a warm and welcoming environment for swimming. These facilities often include additional amenities like saunas and hot tubs, turning a swim into a luxurious experience. The convenience and comfort of indoor pools can help maintain regular swimming routines, crucial for physical and mental well-being during the colder months.


Aquilates – A New Dimension to Pilates Practice: As a special addition, let's not overlook Aquilates – Pilates in the water. This innovative approach marries the principles of Pilates with the buoyancy and resistance of water. It challenges the core and stabilising muscles in new ways, as the water's instability requires continuous engagement and adjustment. Aquilates is particularly beneficial for those with joint issues or injuries, offering effective exercise with reduced strain. It's a refreshing twist to our Pilates practice, bringing a new type of use and benefit to our repertoire.


Conclusion: Swimming, whether in cold water or a warm indoor pool, and the unique practice of Aquilates, are fantastic complements to Pilates. They offer unique benefits for posture, muscle engagement, and mental health. This Fitness Friday, let's embrace the transformative power of water in all its forms and see how it can enhance our journey as Pilates practitioners.


References:

  • Kim, E. K., & Yim, J. (2016). Effects of swimming on the functional reach and trunk flexor endurance in elderly women. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 28(6), 1737–1740.

  • Bleakley, C. M., Bieuzen, F., Davison, G. W., & Costello, J. T. (2012). Whole-body cryotherapy: empirical evidence and theoretical perspectives. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(7), 609-615.

  • Wanivenhaus, F., Fox, A. J. S., Chaudhury, S., & Rodeo, S. A. (2012). Epidemiology of injuries and prevention strategies in competitive swimmers. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 40(5), 1177-1187.

  • Cohen, M., & Andrade, C. T. (2009). The effects of regular swimming exercise on anxiety-like behaviors in rats. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 3(4), 356-365.

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