Reformer Pilates can give you a healthy and lean body, but did you know that it can make you smarter too? Reformer Pilates is a conditioning program designed to work for the whole body – including your brain all together.
Brain and Memory
Hippocampus is a part of our brain that is responsible for memory and cognitive function. In our late 20s, most of us will start to lose 1% of the volume of hippocampus. Literally, our brains are shrinking, as we get older.
Neurogenesis is an activity inside our brain that involves creation of new cells. Our brains could generate new cells which can slow down or reverse brain shrinkage. This means that the brain function will improve and could reduce the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems.
A study by Physical Activity and Health shows that people who practice mindful movement such as Reformer Pilates have significantly better brain function than those who do not.
Reformer Pilates for the Brain
Reformer Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on strengthening and relaxing the muscles in the body. Several studies show that exercise can support neurogenesis. In a preliminary research conducted by scientists from Yanshan University in Qinhuangdao, China, and Beijing Normal University, changes in the brain activity were measured after doing Pilates. It was found that there was an increase in the brain’s alpha peak after 10 weeks of training. It was believed that alpha peak power is linked to increased neural activity, memory performance and other cognitive functions.
Further studies suggest that Pilates can release the stress of mind, increase brain’s oxygen supply, and boost brain function. Other studies in older people also suggest that Pilates is beneficial in terms of mental state, including quality of sleep, emotion, and self-confidence.
In a study conducted among aged individuals, it was reported that those who demonstrated stretching, toning and balance activities experienced improved functional connectivity between different areas of the brain after 6 months compared to those who demonstrated 40 minutes of walking per session which experienced improvement after 12 months.
Learning new things also helps with the brain. When we learn new things, the white matter in the brain increases, allowing the neurons to communicate. Reformer Pilates is the perfect brain-building activity as it offers countless movements to learn.
In Pilates, you are also trained with deep breathing. Deep breathing uplifts your mood, reduces stress, increases circulation and improves brain activity. The brain needs oxygen to function properly and by breathing deeply, it increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
Pilates, a Mind and Body Exercise
Unlike other forms of exercise, Pilates requires your mind to focus on what you are doing. Rather than watching TV while running on a treadmill, with Pilates, you stay focused on your body. Research says that when you pay attention on what you do, your brain cells grow at a faster rate and your nervous system generates better connections throughout the body. Your mind and body become one.
If you’d like to get started with Reformer Pilates, book in for your Free Pilates Body Assessment (valued at $80) today!