10 Benefits of Pilates for the Mind and Body (Backed by Science!)

10 benefits of Pilates

This isn’t your usual 10 benefits-of-Pilates list. You may have heard about the physical benefits of Pilates like getting stronger or looking more toned, but the value of it goes so much deeper than that.

In this list, we’re digging into how Pilates impacts your whole self, including sex, sleep, aging and so much more—all backed by science.

Let’s get to the core of how this style of movement can impact you with the top 10 benefits of Pilates!

1. Reduce Stress and Improve Your Mood 

Source: International Journal of Psychiatry

Since Pilates combines physical motion with mindful presence, it can have a calming, meditative effect. In fact, Pilates can alleviate chronic stress, anxiety, or depression. It also helps to stimulate the release of serotonin (a mood-enhancing hormone), so you often finish your workout feeling uplifted and refreshed.

Lindywell tip: Come to your mat if you’re feeling anxious or stressed. A short 10-minute session can be exactly what you need to shift your energy and feel rejuvenated.

2. Relieve Pain With Better Posture

Source: International Journal of Spine Research

Misalignment in your spine (vertebral misalignment) can result in muscular weakness and imbalance. If you’re experiencing chronic pain, this could be a reason why. Pilates, however, can improve spine health by restoring a natural, healthy curvature in the lumbar (lower back), thoracic (mid to upper back), and cervical (neck) regions. 

This helps to improve your posture, which relieves pressure on the entire spinal column to ease pain and tightness in other areas of the body. As I always say (and what Joseph Pilates always taught): you’re as young as your spine is healthy.

Lindywell tip: Keep your spine healthy and happy with our Pilates Powerhouse Mat, which was made with just the right amount of thickness for stability and support.

3. Feel Stronger in Every Area of Life

Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Your core muscles are the foundation for movement on and off the mat. As you reach over to pick something up, you use your core muscles to twist. As you walk on the sand, you use your core to stay balanced. 

Pilates centers on these core muscles and when the core is strong, you can move more freely without tension, strain, or discomfort. Plus, you’ll feel more mobile and flexible overall. This means you can do all the things you want in your everyday life and feel strong as you do it!

Lindywell tip: Remember to stay connected to listen to your body in every workout. You don’t need to increase the intensity to reap the strength benefits. In fact, moving slower and with greater intention is actually often more challenging and will help you build just as much strength, if not more.

4. Create Mental Clarity

Source: Frontiers in Psychology

The mind-body coordination of Pilates can reinforce your attention span, self-efficacy, emotional regulation, and cognitive function as a whole. This supports you in your Pilates workouts, in your work, and in your personal life. When your brain is sharp and alert, you can show up as your best self for you and everyone around you.

Lindywell tip: Start or end each Pilates workout with one of the breathwork sessions in the Lindywell app. Taking a few moments to breathe in stillness can help you create even more mental clarity.

5. Stay Strong Through Aging

Source: Manual Therapy, Posturology, and Rehabilitation Journal

As the body ages (which can start as early as the age of 26!), it’s normal to lose some bone density over time. Women who have been through menopause, however, are often at a higher risk of bone deterioration, along with osteoporosis. Fortunately, Pilates can strengthen bone mineral density to improve functional movements and protect the musculoskeletal system from turning frail or brittle.

Lindywell tip: Consistency is key to building bone strength and resilience over time. Committing to just one short workout each day, even for just 5 to 10 minutes, will support bone strength and health.

6. Sleep Better—and Feel More Rested

Source: Maturitas Journal

Uninterrupted, restful sleep is crucial for both mental and physical well-being, and Pilates can help with this. In fact, women who participated in Pilates for at least three months saw an increase in overall sleep quality, as well as a decrease in fatigue and mental health issues that affect sleep. 

Lindywell tip: You don’t have to do Pilates right before bed to sleep better at night. A Pilates workout at any time of day will improve your ability to sleep soundly at night.

7. Boost Your Immune System to Fight Sickness

Source: PLOS One Journal

Immune health and resilience are vital to staying healthy. Pilates has been found to reduce inflammation while boosting plasma and hemoglobin circulation. This means you’ll have less inflammation and more circulation, which can result in stronger immunity. 

Lindywell tip: A strong immune system is important all year long—not just in the winter or during flu season. Maintaining a consistent practice, no matter the season, is the best way to keep your immune system healthy when you need it most.

8. Stay In Tune With Your Body

Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry

Body awareness is a state of conscious connection to the form and function of your own body as it moves through space. Consistent Pilates practice correlates with higher levels of body awareness, which can improve overall body image and acceptance. This helps to combat body dissatisfaction and can even help you connect with a deeper level of self-compassion.

Lindywell tip: We start every Lindywell workout with a moment to connect with the body and then move with intention. This allows you to create a better connection with your body both on and off the mat.

9. Reduce Your Risk of Injuries

Source: British Medical Journal

Pilates helps you build dynamic strength, which makes it possible for you to exert force on the muscles and joints repeatedly without causing strain or injuries. In fact, soccer players who used Pilates as a conditioning exercise had more stability in their knees, hips, and other joints. This not only elevated their coordination and performance on the field, but it also lowered their risk of sports injuries. 

Lindywell tip: You don’t have to play soccer to experience the benefits of dynamic strength. Practicing Pilates helps you feel stronger while doing the active things you love, like playing with your kids or taking a long walk.

10. Improve Your Sexual Health and Function

Source: International Journal of Public Health and Environmental Research

Pilates may play a surprising role in your sexual health because it activates the core, and can help build pelvic floor strength. Your pelvic floor muscles—located in the base of your pelvis, between the hip flexors and tailbone—play an important role in sexual function. Since this area is home to the vagina and uterus, a healthy, properly functioning pelvic floor is essential for both pleasure and reproduction. 

Lindywell tip: While Pilates can support this area of your health, if you’re experiencing chronic pelvic pain, dysfunction, or discomfort, it’s important to get care from a pelvic therapist. 

The 10 Benefits of Pilates: Support Your Mind and Body

Pilates can improve every area of your life, mind, and body—and those benefits are also backed by science! The best part is, you don’t have to practice every day for hours on end to experience less stress, better sleep, stronger bones, or any of the other benefits. Just a few minutes each day, or a couple of times each week, can positively impact your life.

If you want to experience these 10 benefits of Pilates, sign up for your free trial of Lindywell today to get fit and feel good for a lifetime or log into the app if you’re already a member!

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