by Johanna May Irwin
These days, it seems that mostly everyone suffers from some kind of digestive discomfort. I am no exception. Having been diagnosed with IBS at the age of 12, I know all about bloating, believe me! Although my symptoms have eased over time thanks to dietary changes, cutting out all lactose, and reduced wheat, I still have a sensitive stomach.
The good news is that I have found that practicing Pilates really does ease my discomfort.
Here are three wonderful ways Pilates aids digestion.
Throughout class, you are instructed to breath laterally. This allows your lungs to fill up to their greatest capacity. Not only does deep breathing help relax the mind and body–anxiety and stress are directly related to digestive issues– but each deep breath stimulates the internal organs, including the heart.
When the heart gets going, circulation is increased and you get fresh blood coursing through the body. This carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell while also removing waste products. Deep breathing is your easiest and most available internal cleansing mechanism.
There is a strong abdominal focus in Pilates. This is important as the abdominal system supports the spine and the surrounding organs, including your digestive system. Thus these exercises activate the core which engages and increases blood flow around the area.
IBS sufferers often find themselves living with a closed front body, or poor hunched posture. Don’t get down on yourself if you can relate to this; this is a protective instinct. In every Pilates class you will work on extending your spine which will allow your abdominals to stretch out, and creates a sense of space in the area. This space is essential for digestive comfort and reducing bloating.
Do you suffer from IBS or another digestive disorder? If so, have you found refuge in Pilates? Share your story below.