Pilates is known to be a full-body workout programme that improves muscle tone, strength, body alignment, and posture, but some studies are now suggesting that it might be also be a way to reduce your blood pressure.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when blood pressure measures higher than what is considered to be a normal range. High blood pressure can occur for a variety of reasons including high-cholesterol diets, chronic health conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy, and family history. It can be dangerous in the long term and usually, a large lifestyle change is necessary to lower your blood pressure, such as avoiding smoking and alcoholic drinks as well as reducing stress.
How Could Pilates Help?
While exercise in general is good for your health and especially good for your heart, Pilates has been suggested as the best option for those who want to reduce their blood pressure. As it focuses on controlling your breathing and heart rate, as well as strength building moves, it might just be the exercise for making a significant change (alongside other changes to your lifestyle).
In a study published in April this year by the American Journal of Hypertension, Alexei Wong and his team had 14 overweight women with high blood pressure take part in one hour Pilates classes, 3 times weekly for a period of twelve weeks.
During this time their blood pressure dropped significantly in comparison to the 14-person control group who had not exercised. The study also showed that the women’s artery stiffness had also reduced, and they had lost weight and gained muscle tone.
Pilates puts a lot of emphasis on keeping things slow and controlled, while also giving us a full-body workout experience. A good Pilates workout will target your entire body, exercising the muscles that we engage with on an everyday basis and improving our ability to do normal things.
Pilates also helps to engage the core muscles and improves balance and posture, again helping us to carry ourselves better in daily life. While it is a full body experience most Pilates workouts are of a moderate intensity, allowing you to perform without overexerting yourself, and the rhythmical and aerobic nature of the exercise modality helps to calm us and reduce stress.
There is also, as mentioned above, a big focus on breathing which is crucial to Pilates and this will also help to improve your physical strength and ability to work out in a more successful way. Lastly, and possibly most important of all, Pilates is a programme that can be adapted to anyone regardless of age, fitness level or physical ability.
While Pilates alone might not fix everything, alongside a heart-healthy diet it can be a great way to help you to reduce your high blood pressure and lead a healthier life.
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