Can Pilates Cause Inflammation? - What You Need To Know!

Inflammation is caused when your body activates your immune system, which then sends out inflammatory cells to heal damaged tissue or attack bacteria. 

If your body sends out inflammatory cells when you aren’t injured or sick, you could have chronic inflammation.

This is a common symptom of chronic diseases such as arthritis. 

There are over 100 different types of arthritis known, these can be broadly divided into two types: rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

One of the best ways to tackle this disease and inflammation is through exercise.

Physical activity allows your body to maintain its muscle strength, bodily movements, and flexibility.  

One such exercise that is known for relieving and reducing arthritis, and other inflammatory-related diseases, is pilates. 

So, instead of causing inflammation, pilates helps to do the exact opposite! 

With this in mind, in this article, we will explore everything you need to know about the relationship between inflammation and pilates, as well as other pilates benefits you should be aware of. 

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation isn’t always considered a bad reaction. Instead, it is a natural process used by your body to battle off and heal injury, infection, or illnesses. 

You may already be aware of the symptoms of short-term inflammation: the heat, pain, swelling, and redness that arises when fighting illnesses or scratching yourself. 

Inflammation only becomes an issue when it turns into a chronic condition. 

Can Inflammation Impact Your Health?

When your body creates an inflammatory response, your immune system is notified and jumps straight into the action. 

Although, if this occurs without anything prompting the reaction – such as illness or infection – inflammation can harm your healthy organs, arteries, and joints. 

This can sometimes take place without you even realizing it or until you begin to feel fatigued or unwell. 

Unchecked inflammation can drive diseases such as obesity, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, fatty liver disease, and arthritis. 

What Is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of physical exercise that anticipates improving both mental health and strengthening the body. 

It was developed in Germany as early as the 20th century after being discovered by Joseph Pilates – hence the name. 

He believed that physical and mental health were positively correlated, and to improve one; meant you were also improving the other. 

In his book Return to Life through Contrology, Joseph Pilates highlights the importance of controlled movements. 

Similar to yoga, Pilates involves the movement of the entire body, although it is concentrated on the lower back, abdomen, knees, thighs, and butt. 

For this reason, Pilates is a great choice for those suffering from arthritis and any inflammation-related diseases. 

Pilates is known for emphasizing core stability, helping with balance, as well as spinal flexibility, which allows you to perform your daily activities as normal – from driving your car to reaching the top shelf!

In addition, Pilates is great for maintaining and strengthening the movement in the joints, which is important with inflammation. 

Benefits Of Pilates

Benefits Of Pilates

Pilates trains the whole body, not only the joints affected by inflammation. 

This way, you’re targeting areas you didn’t even know needed targeting in the first place, keeping your body in a happy, healthy state. 

Pilates exercises can be performed on the mat or on specifically designed Pilates equipment, also known as Pilates apparatuses, which utilize resistance springs to help strengthen the body in a controlled, safe method. 

Leg Circles and Footwork exercises using the Pilates Reformer machine help to strengthen the muscles surrounding the hips, ankle joints, and knees without unnecessary impact. 

Likewise, the RollBack and Push Through exercises on the Cadillac or Pilates Tower help you strengthen muscles in your shoulder girdle. 

All these muscles help to support your joints and encourage efficient movements so you can go about your daily life. 

Below, you will find some of the benefits associated with pilates. 

1. It Reduces Inflammation

Pilates is a great way to improve your lymph system’s function. 

Lymph is a fluid found within your body that helps to remove wastes. When this waste isn’t released, it can lead to toxic buildup and create inflammation. 

The gentle movements in pilates help to increase the lymphatic flow, moving waste more efficiently through your body. 

Not only does this help to reduce inflammation but also pain and aids detox.

2. It Reduces Pain

There have been many studies evaluating the effect of Pilates on those suffering from chronic lower back pain. 

In these studies, research has found the exercise in Pilates similar to generic lumbar exercises. 

Although Pilates exercises were proven more effective than minimal physical exercise when rescuing pain and disability over a short time. 

The studies further conclude that Pilates is an effective method of treating chronic pain.

3. It Improves Joint Function

Further research has shown that two sessions of Pilates per week – with a duration of 30-60 minutes – can considerably improve chronic pain conditions. 

Since Pilates targets the whole body, it does a great job of improving stiff joints and flexibility – which is important for those suffering from arthritis. 

The movements found in Pilates stimulate the production of synovial fluid which helps to enhance the lubrication within the joints. 

This reduces the risks of joint wear and tear, and thus minimizes pain and enhances movement in the joints – allowing you to go about the day as normal. 

4. Its Benefits In Fibromyalgia 

In a study published in Springer, they found that many different types of Pilates exercises have a similar effect on Fibromyalgia syndrome. 

This is a syndrome that is categorized by fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and pain which can greatly affect your quality of life. 

However, Pilates is shown to relieve pain and improve and regain strength in the muscles. 

5. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Benefits

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a non-infection, auto-immune joint disease which causes inflammation of the synovium in the joints. 

Typically affects children under the age of 16. 

Studies have shown that Pilates exercises can benefit Juvenile idiopathic arthritis in patients – helping to significantly reduce pain and regain motion in the joints. 

6. Helps Weight Loss

Pilates is also known to help weight loss. 

As you gain weight, you are putting more and more pressure on your joints, especially your knees. 

Taking part in Pilates as soon as possible can greatly reduce the chance of developing arthritis, as well as aid you on your weight loss journey. 

Pilates has been found to significantly reduce pain and improve weight discharge in the gait when compared to other exercises. 

Furthermore, studies have linked Pilates to improving non-specific back pain when carrying out various Pilates exercises. 

Final Thoughts

Inflammation is a natural response orchestrated by the body when your immune system is activated.

Essentially, inflammatory cells are sent out to fight off illness and heal injuries. 

However, when your body starts sending out inflammatory cells without a prompt; it is a cause for concern.

Typically, this is a sign of a much bigger problem, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and arthritis. 

One way of reducing these inflammatory-related diseases is through Pilates.

Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about Pilates and reducing inflammation.