11/22/2023 0 Comments
Joint Health and Pilates
In our bodies joints are the points where two or more bones meet. They allow us to move and bend in different ways. There are three main types of joints in the human body:
- Synovial joints are the most common type of joint and are characterized by a capsule that surrounds the joint and contains synovial fluid, which helps to lubricate and protect the joint. Think of your hips, knees, hands, elbows…
- Cartilaginous joints are found in the spine and pelvis and are characterized by a piece of cartilage that cushions the bones and allows them to glide over each other. Think of your vertebrae and SI joint.
- Fibrous joints are found in the skull and between the teeth and jawbone and are characterized by a dense band of connective tissue that holds the bones together.
Pilates is a low-impact exercise method that focuses on core strength, flexibility, and balance. It is a great way to improve joint health because it helps to:
- Increase range of motion: Pilates exercises help to move the joints through their full range of motion, which helps to keep the joints healthy and flexible.
- Strengthen the muscles around the joints: Strong muscles help to support and protect the joints and Pilates exercises help to strengthen the muscles around all of the major joints in the body.
- Improve balance and coordination: Good balance and coordination help to prevent falls and injuries.
Pilates exercises help to improve balance and coordination by training the body to move in a controlled and coordinated manner.
Pilates is also a good choice for people with joint pain or arthritis. The low-impact exercises are easy on the joints and can help to reduce pain and improve function.
If you are new to Pilates, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. It is also a good idea to work with a qualified Pilates instructor who can teach you the proper form for each exercise.
Here is a little more description of the joints depicted in the image associated with this blog:
Pivot joint: This type of joint allows for rotation around one axis. The joint between the atlas and axis vertebrae in the neck is a pivot joint, i.e. the first and second vertebrae in the neck and part of the cervical spine.
Hinge joint: This type of joint allows for flexion and extension in one plane. The elbow and knee joints are hinge joints.
Saddle joint: This type of joint allows for flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and circumduction. The joint between the thumb and first metacarpal bone is a saddle joint.
Condyloid joint: This type of joint allows for flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and circumduction. The wrist joint is a condyloid joint.
Plane joint: This type of joint allows for gliding in two planes. The joints between the vertebrae in the spine are plane joints.
Ball and socket joint: This type of joint allows for the widest range of motion, including flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, circumduction, and internal and external rotation. The shoulder and hip joints are ball and socket joints.
Here are some Pilates exercises that are good for different types of joints:
- Pivot joint:
- Neck circles
- Shoulder shrugs
- Hinge joint:
- Knee bends
- Hamstring stretches
- Saddle joint:
- Thumb circles
- Wrist stretches
- Condyloid joint:
- Wrist rolls
- Forearm stretches
- Plane joint:
- Spinal rolls
- Pelvic tilts
- Ball and socket joint:
- Arm circles
- Leg swings.
Modifying Pilates exercises to make them easier on your joints
If you have any joint pain or arthritis, you can modify Pilates exercises to make them easier on your joints. Here are some tips:
- If you have knee pain, avoid exercises that require you to bend your knees deeply.
- If you have back pain, avoid exercises that twist or hyperextend your spine.
- If you have shoulder pain, avoid exercises that require you to raise your arms overhead.
If you are not sure how to modify a Pilates exercise, talk to your Pilates Instructor, doctor or physical therapist.