Fitness, Health, Wellness

Why is Wall Pilates so popular?

Do you love at-home workouts? I do! I love the accessibility of these workouts, the ability to do them anytime during the day and most importantly, I don’t have to get childcare every time I plan a workout. What’s the latest trend in at-home workouts? Wall Pilates! In case you missed it, everyone is doing Wall Pilates! But what is Wall Pilates and why is Wall Pilates so popular?

What is Pilates?

Pilates originated in New York City in the post WWI era. Invented by Joe and Clara Pilates, the method began as Joe served as an orderly in a hospital in Germany helping veterans who were unable to walk. He rigged parts of beds to help support the patients’ limbs as they worked through the method. After immigrating to the US, he then opened his first studio in New York City and published a booklet called “Your Health,” and “The Return to Life through Contrology,” which is what he practiced throughout his life. The name Pilates was only applied to the method after Joe’s death in 1967. Pilates was based on three principles – Breath, Whole-body Health and Whole-body Commitment. The core foundation of Pilates includes breath, concentration, centering, control, precision and flow. This method was shared by Clara Pilates to apprentices in her first studio, and it continues to be practiced today. The popularity of Pilates has grown, with countless studios popping up around the world.

What is Wall Pilates?

In our post-Covid world, everything has to be more accessible to our home life. Since gyms closed down in 2020, and many people installed gym equipment at home, at-home workouts have become increasingly popular. Following along on a workout video fits anyone’s schedule, whether you are working from home or trying to squeeze in a workout while the kids run wild in another room. Enter – Wall Pilates. By why is Wall Pilates so popular? Wall Pilates is essentially the same workout shared by Joe and Clara Pilates nearly 80 years ago in New York City. It enlists the use of a wall to create resistance and help develop more strength. The wall mimics the foot bar used in formal Pilates exercises. Since there is no equipment needed (only a wall), anyone can complete a Wall Pilates workout at home, in a hotel, or anywhere with a wall.

Why is Wall Pilates so Popular?

  • No equipment (or membership) necessary.

As we discussed above, pilates studios have been popping up everywhere, complete with reformers throughout the studio. You can even join a community of members and do a pilates class together. However, memberships to these studios can be pretty pricey especially when you couple it with a standard gym membership. Wall Pilates uses a wall instead of an expensive piece of equipment, and anyone can find space in their home to knock out a quick session. You can even find a wall in your hotel room, if you find yourself traveling for work or pleasure.

  • Improve core strength and helps with a flat belly (yes, please)

Who else is looking for that flat belly? After three kids, I truly feel like this will never happen for me. But after seeing some of the benefits of Wall Pilates, I am a believer. “The engagement of the abdominal muscles in each exercise helps build a solid core foundation.” Ok, even if I don’t get the flat belly, I would love to have increased core strength. This core strength will allow for greater activity – running, weight training – things that are essential for me as I age.

  • Develops better posture and alignment

Given the use of the wall for resistance, Wall Pilates provides the floor as a stable surface to help correct spinal alignment during a session. The wall allows for a neutral spine to be achieved, a critical factor in traditional Pilates workouts. In one study, participants reported significant improvement in posture after 8 weeks of Wall Pilates.

  • Relieves back pain (the worst)

As I sit here and type away on my laptop, I can feel the impact on my back. My low back is already throbbing and my neck is next. Text neck is a real thing and so many are challenged with chronic low back pain. It can affect daily function in countless ways and so difficult to treat medically. Wall Pilates can help lengthen the spine and decompress the vertebrae. These exercises also help strengthen the spinal muscles which can help prevent future back pain. As soon as I finish this post, I am going to knock out a quick session.

  • Reduces the risk of injury

Did you know that one of the biggest causes of injury is muscle imbalance? For anyone with aging parents, I am sure you have noticed that balance issues can often result in falls. This can be truly devastating with anyone with aging bones or reduced bone density. Wall Pilates is especially beneficial for those that are prone to injury. The use of the wall provides more support and stability, and it helps to alleviate any strain on old injuries.

  • Better flexility & mobility

Flexibility and mobility are important skills to work on as we all proceed through aging. As I watch my kids grow, it is truly amazing to see their incredible flexibility when they are so young, compared to my rigid bones and muscles. Wall Pilates helps with both flexibility and mobility as it lengthens the muscles and increases the range of motion around joints (mobility).

  • Improves sleep (without sleep aids)

It’s no surprise that Wall Pilates helps to improve sleep – both quality and quantity. The practice of wall pilates forces focus and meditation. Thinking back to the core priorities of Pilates and the mind-body connection, many see a marked improvement in their sleep.

  • Improves digestion and gut health 

Lately, it seems like every aspect of health is somehow linked to the gut – it truly is the center of our body and maybe it does hold the key to health? Given the essential aspect of Pilates of core contraction and holding a neutral spine throughout, it seems logical that it can help aid digestion and improve gut health. Those contractions massage the internal organs, helping to reduce gas, bloating and constipation.

  • Improves balance

As mentioned above, Wall Pilates can help improve balance over time. It naturally challenges balance and proprioception (the body’s ability to sense its position in space). Amazingly, it does this while providing the support and stability of the wall. Even athletes have benefitted from the practice of Wall Pilates – “the enhanced balance and proprioception gained through regular practice contribute to their improved performance in sports such as gymnastics, dancing, and martial arts.”

  • Reduces stress (sign me up)

Last, but definitely not least, Wall Pilates has been demonstrated to help reduce stress. By incorporating deep-breathing and a focus on relaxation throughout a session, it promotes improved well-being and alleviates stress. When individuals who were experience high levels of stress were evaluated in a case study where they completed Wall Pilates sessions twice a week, they reported significant reductions in stress and an increase in their response to relaxation. Simple to incorporate and less expensive than medication or therapy!

In conclusion, we have counted down 10 reasons why Wall Pilates is so popular. If you haven’t tried it by now, why wait? Search for a quick session on You Tube, join the Wall Pilates community, and score countless benefits. You won’t be sorry.

References:

https://www.pilatesfoundation.com/pilates/the-history-of-pilates/

https://www.today.com/health/diet-fitness/wall-pilates-exercises-rcna103846