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How Pilates Can Help With Digestion

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

The digestive system can become more sluggish in the winter months, especially during the holidays when we eat foods that can be higher in calories and fat than our normal diet. Eating healthy fats, whole grains, lean protein, and drinking plenty of water can help the body cleanse and detoxify. Pilates can also aid in digestion by increasing movement which allows the body to get rid of waste and toxins more efficiently. It also reduces inflammation and calms the digestive system. The connection between the body and the mind along with the focus on the core, concentration, control, breathing, and fluid movements can be very effective in aiding digestion.

The importance of breathing in Pilates is bringing the focus inward. Active focus on lateral breathing strengthens the diaphragm muscles and gives the abdominal organs a massage. There a several Mat Pilates exercises and stretches that can aid in digestion. A few examples are listed below:

  • Criss Cross: lie on your back with legs in table top position. With hands behind your head and elbows wide, curl your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat as you exhale-twisting the upper body to your right as you extend your left leg. Inhale to rotate your body through center. on the next exhale, twist your upper body to the left and extend your right leg. Inhale back through center again. The twisting motion aids in "wringing out" the digestive organs.

  • Roll Up: Lie on your back with legs straight and arms on the mat. Take a deep inhale and then brings the arms overhead in an arc. Once the arms move past 90 degrees, start to curl your head, neck, and shoulder blades off the mat. Pause and inhale, then exhale to roll up the rest of the way. Feel your ribs sliding towards. your pelvis. Once you are up, stretch your fingers towards your toes - keeping a C curve to the spine. Inhale to lift the spine from the pelvis up through the lower spine , mid spine, neck, and head until you are sitting up straight. Exhale and roll all the way back down.

  • Bridge: Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor about hip-width distance apart. Arms are placed at your sides with palms facing down. Engage the core and raise hips until torso is diagonal to the floor. Lower your hips to the starting position.

  • Supine Twist: Lie down on your back. Bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor, side by side . Extend your arms to a "T". Move both knees towards your chest. Lower your knees to the right, and turn your head to the left. Pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat in the opposite direction.

IBS symptoms can be helped with regular low to moderate-intensity exercise like walking, Pilates, and swimming. Breathing exercises can promote relaxation. Eating nutritious foods and getting plenty of sleep are also key to controlling IBS symptoms.

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