Pilates is a collection of over 500 carefully designed exercises that can help one control their muscle groups for improved balance, posture, spatial awareness, and daily functionality. It may also help scoliosis sufferers deal with their condition, study reveals. And while Pilates is not a substitute for regular therapy or treatment, it can help sufferers have better core stabilization and alignment. It can also relieve muscle tension and help loosen up joints. Consult with your doctor/therapist if you can try these simple but effective Pilates exercises to help manage scoliosis:
Single leg stand
For: Strength and balance
Note: Have a chair or a stable surface you can hold onto in case you lose your balance.
Related article: The 7 things you should never do during Pilates
- Stand upright. Place your hands on your hip bones.
- Lift your right foot around 5–7 inches off the ground. Do not allow your legs to touch; all weight must be placed on the unlifted leg.
- Hold for 10–15 seconds before repeating on the other side.
For: Flexibility of the lower back
- Stand straight with your hands on your hips. Slowly raise your right arm upwards to the sky.
- With one hand raised, bend your knees slightly.
- Carefully bend your body to the left, keeping the raised arm parallel to your head.
- Lengthen your body for several counts, then rest.
- Repeat steps 1–4 using your left arm, and elongate the right side of your body.
Cat and camel
For: Reducing stiffness in the back while increasing flexibility
Related article: 5 Essential Pilates exercises for beginners
- Get on all fours, with your back a straight line from your shoulder to your hip.
- Gradually, as if a hand is picking you up from the floor, tighten your abdomen and arch your spine to the ceiling. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds. This is the camel position.
- Slowly go back to your original position by relaxing your back.
- Now, imagine you’re being pulled towards the floor. Let your stomach dip and your back relax, so your spine forms a U shape. Stay in this pose for at least 10 seconds. This is the cat position.
- Repeat both the camel and the cat at least three times.
For: Back extension
- On the mat, lie on your belly/facing down. Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from the ears, your arms close to your body, and your hands about the same level as your waist.
- Focus on your belly button and lift it away from the mat by pushing your hands upwards.
- Take a deep breath, and lengthen your spine as much as you can by arching up and opening your chest to the ceiling.
- Exhale as you lower yourself back to the original position, undoing the arc on your back but keeping your abdomen lifted. Your lower belly should reach the mat first, then your mid-belly, then your lower ribs, all the way down your chest. The sequence ends when your forehead touches the mat.
- Repeat 3–5 times.
Related article: 5 Ways to know if you’re doing Pilates right
Pilates benefits not only people with scoliosis, but anyone who wants to have stronger core and back muscles. The C2 Body studios in Boston and Dedham offer engaging and effective Pilates daily. Sign up today.