Hours in a chair, back pain and Pilates

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

For those who work at least 8 hours sat in a chair like me it is fundamental to have a routine of exercise planned or the body will show you signs that something is not right.

One example is the lower back pain that can persist for quite some time which if not addressed can become more severe. In my case it was starting to extend to my left leg blocking me to perform tasks such as holding a gear when I was driving a car going uphill, without having insane pain on my leg.

When I went back to exercise again I choose something that I had some comfort in doing, swimming since I have lots of years of experience in it plus it’s an activity that calms my state of mind when performing some cardio and muscle build.

A few weeks into swimming the pain was disappearing briefly for one or two days every time I went to swim but would usually come back again. I went to a doctor to see why I had so much pain in my back. Found out that most of it was caused by my L4/L5 (lumbar vertebrae) on my spine due to the fact that it was losing resistance and it started to dislocated from its initial position and was the main source of the pain I had.

Your spine has incredible importance in your body being one of them the control over your stress. Doctor told me to start doing yoga, Pilates or Tai chi. All of these have proven improvements in helping ease the pain and drastically improve your core strength. The core muscles are the ones that stabilize the spine and pelvis, improve the posture of the body and have influence in the upper body , legs and so on. Finally it is not about the amount of power you exercise to do an exercise but more about the correct technique to make the exercise without harming your muscles.

I went for Pilates based on my girlfriends influence since she also does it.

Pilates exercise — The “Monkey”

One last thing, I do Pilates alone with a coach, not in a group. It is more target specific involving some equipment such as the pilates reformer because I need to make a bigger effort in parts of my body to be again in shape to revert some damage caused by a surgery I had to before. In specific I need to slowly correct my shoulders to its correct place opening my chest again to have a good breathing capacity when I do other exercises.

Also for a person that has almost no experience it can be disastrous.
Let’s start with a few aspects:

Pilates has a big focus on breathing properly when exercising.

I meet a few people that say that Pilates is just breathing. There is only half true in that sentence. There are a lot more to that since there is a lot of small things that are important.

For me it is a huge problem when I’m practicing Pilates. I have the tendency of holding the air when I am doing the exercises not allowing me to reach to its max objective.

When you Exhale helps your muscles stretch a bit more allowing to relieve a bit more of accumulated stress while Inhaling helps flexing the necessary muscles for its specific exercise.

Pilates teaches how to sit properly.

A big part of the exercises focuses in working posture and giving more strength into the core muscles helping fix your postures on your work for example when it requires a long time of hours on a chair. You will gradually know your body and with practice you will sit properly without even noticing.

Pilates will reduce your stress.

With time the pain that was existing frequently will disappear and be less severe which will release the brain from telling you that something is wrong taking that part away from your daily stress.

One part that I found interesting is the difference I have from start to finish of the class. I had a few times already when I reach my class completely tired from work and with a huge headache. Minutes in the headache starts to fade since I’m releasing a lot of stress from my muscles.

Pilates is a complete exercise.

I thought I would not do a lot when I got into Pilates but I have to say that I sweat way more when doing this instead of going to the gym. In my opinion is it more based on the fact I have to give more energy into holding to make everything correct. There are also bonus points for the fact that some workouts can be performed at home with pretty much no equipment.

I still practice swimming to complete my weekly exercise with some cardio.

Of course the more serious you take the bigger will be the results. I found out that I have the tendency to get challenged when my coach tells me stuff like:

It is very difficult for a men to reach this or that state.

A good example is the image you saw on the start where it is requires training to reach a full stretched legs. I’m now trying to do it with a single leg while the other is on the floor.

The exercise below you have to allow yourself to go up and then force yourself to go back down not using the leg power but the core power (abdominal area)

Pilates exercise — Going up.

Nothing would be possible without Flora ( my coach) to push me to improve everyday allowing me to reach exercises and strength that I wouldn’t figure I could achieve and my girlfriend that showed me this activity that helped me dissipate all the stress I had.

Have a try and enjoy the results within the appropriated time.

Paulo

Software Programmer, Youth Facilitator, Idea Maker

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