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Can Pilates Make You Taller?

Can Pilates make you tallerHave you ever wondered if doing Pilates can make you taller?  It’s an interesting question… Can Pilates make you taller?  We assume that we hit that growth spurt in our youth and then at some point the tables turn and we seem to start getting shorter.  You go to the doctor for a checkup one day to discover that you’re not as tall as you used to be!  Poor posture, as well as gravity, have somehow stolen a quarter of an inch or more from what we once thought of as our “adult” height.  And for most of us, we just assume that this is the natural order of things, and that as we age, not only do we decline in health, but we decline in height.  Did you ever stop to think that there might be something you can do about it?

It’s a great question:  Can Pilates Make You Taller?  The Answer is: YES

I gained a quarter of an inch during my first Pilates Teacher-Training workshop!  And, I have clients who regularly tell me that they went in for a check up and are taller since they started Pilates.  A few of these folks gained up to three-quarters of an inch!

Is it some weird adult growth-spurt? Not quite… So what’s happening to help make participants who practice Pilates get taller?  Is it the magic of the method? Something in the water at the studio? A revelation from working out on the Reformer?  Perhaps some of this might factor in… but there are 3 key principles that are cornerstone philosophies of the Pilates Method that contribute to helping Pilates students get taller.

Three Pilates Concepts to Help Make You Taller:

  1. Breathing
  2. Posture
  3. Balanced Muscle Development

How can Pilates Breathing make you taller? Well it’s an interesting concept that should be the way you breathe all the time, not just during a Pilates workout.  Learning Pilates posterior-lateral breathing techniques can help you more efficiently improve lung capacity, get more oxygen into your system to nourish your cells and, most importantly, assist in the compression/decompression of the spine that helps reduce back pain and makes you taller.  Strengthening your diaphragm and lungs with better Pilates breathing habits also helps improve core support.  Every exercise you do has a breath pattern connected to it that makes the exercise easier to execute.  Getting a grip on good breathing improves efficiency not only for breathing but also for movement.

Posture problems can wreak huge havoc on your height!  And for the most part nobody realizes how big a contributor poor posture and bad movement habits are to chronic pain, stress, and strain.  If any small part of the body is out of balance, the entire body is out of balance.  Over time, we try to adapt as best we can – until we can’t… and an injury occurs.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a tiny part of your body (like your big toe) or something bigger and farther up the chain (like your low back, shoulder, or neck).  Posture problems can create life-altering issues not only for your height (which is no big deal really), but the repetitive stress, chronic aches and pains, and injuries caused by poor posture are what can keep you from enjoying a healthy active life.

The Pilates Method is a system.  There are specific exercises, done in a specific order with specialized equipment that is spring-tensioned and designed to work just like your muscles do.  One of the biggest benefits of using Pilates equipment is that it gets you out of a weight-bearing position (i.e. that crappy posture position that you’re stuck in) and helps you learn how to re-organize your muscles for more efficient and effective movement.  With both the resistance and assistance of the springs on the Pilates Reformer, Cadillac, and Chairs, you can start to re-train your body. By discovering your strengths, weaknesses, and muscle imbalances with the exercises on the Pilates equipment and working to improve your strength and flexibility, your body will get longer and stronger.  As you improve, these new muscle habits transfer off the Pilates equipment and back into your everyday life.  Pilates Matwork (which is the other half of the Pilates system) is designed to really test this, since there is no equipment for the Pilates Mat exercises, you must use your muscles to work against gravity, reinforcing what you’ve learned with the benefit of the Pilates equipment.  By using the Pilates System (both equipment AND Matwork) you can quickly start to experience the benefits of getting taller that Pilates can help you achieve.

Balanced Muscle Development is the result of a well-designed Pilates training program.  We all have dominant and weaker muscles.  If you’re right or left-handed, by default you’re stronger on one-side of your body.  If you play sports, your athletic endeavors may create a wider-gap between your strengths and your weaknesses.  If you’re a mom and always have a kid perched on one hip while you’re moving through your day – mommy life is could be creating some imbalances in your body.  If you’re a dentist or surgeon – you might always be on the same side of your patient.  If you’re a hairdresser or play baseball, how overused is one arm and shoulder?  Do you play golf, tennis, or bowl – all of these are somewhat lop-sided sports.

Pilates is one of the best athletic endeavors to help counter-act the imbalances that life puts into our bodies.  By improving body awareness and focusing on posture and breathing during Pilates training sessions you get the benefits of working the whole body to improve whole-body health.  When breathing, posture, and body alignment are all working together, the result is balanced muscle development.  A body in-balance can move easily and effortlessly.  With room to move and space to breathe, the spine will be lifted, separating the joints and giving you not only the appearance of being taller, but I bet you’ll be able to see a measurable difference the next time you decide to check your height.  It might be only a few millimeters, a quarter-of an inch, or more, but Pilates can be a great way to help make you taller.

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Take the Centerworks® Quick Posture Quiz – and start discovering what you can do to stand taller.  Start improving your health with the power of better posture.

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