Reformer Pilates is widely known to give you a strong core and a leaner body. But its principles give you more than the physical benefits. A quality Reformer Pilates session creates a mindful movement that results in an all-encompassing workout, not just for the body, but for the brain too.
Brain and Physical Activity
The brain tends to shrink starting from our late 20s. A part of our brain called hippocampus loses 1% of its volume. The hippocampus plays a main role in memory and cognitive function.
Scientists used to believe that people are born with a certain number of brain cells. However, recently, they found out that our brains could create new cells, which can delay or reverse brain shrinkage. The creation of new cells can lead to better memory, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, improved ability to learn and solve problems, a higher IQ and many more mental benefits.
Exercise improves neurogenesis or the creation of new cells. It also has a protective effect on existing cells by prompting in increased production in a compound with a nerve-protecting effects called BDNF. The changes are mostly significant in the hippocampus.
How Reformer Pilates Can Improve Brain Health
Reformer Pilates is a gentle, impact-free workout that strengthens and relaxes your muscles. In addition, it is also a mindful practice that can improve your brain function.
The Reformer Pilates principles can help in the improvement of human cognitive function.
Concentration focuses on the connection between mind and body, which helps bring out more of the physical and mental benefits of Pilates.
Centering focuses on using your core muscles which helps with more powerful body movements.
Control helps with the precision and control of body movements.
Controlled breathing during exercise helps activate your muscles and improve mental focus.
Precision focuses on how the movements should be properly executed.
Flow ensures smooth flow of movements.
All these six principles require us to use our brain power when mastering each exercise.
Learning new things is healthy for the brain. Say, for example, juggling. A study from the University of Oxford shows that juggling increased the white matter in the brain. These are the white fibres that allow neurons to communicate. The results found that those who spent more time learning new skill developed significantly more white matter.
Much is true with Reformer Pilates. One of the biggest benefits you can get from it is learning.
Learning a new movement or a new modification in Reformer Pilates is a perfect way to challenge yourself physically and mentally. With countless exercise variations in Reformer Pilates, you are able to learn new things. It is a great way to exercise your body and mind at the same time.
If playing chess or solving riddles aren’t your thing, you can improve your mental wellness through Reformer Pilates. It’s like hitting 2 birds with one stone. Not only it’s good for your body, it’s good for your brain too!
Book a Reformer Pilates class in Perth. Call us today on 9272 7359 or learn more here!
Scholz J, Klein MC, Behrens TEJ, Johansen-Berg H. Training induces changes in white matter architecture. Nature neuroscience. 2009;12(11):1370-1371. doi:10.1038/nn.2412.