In Fitness, Pilates, Wellbeing


Most people know the importance of regular physical exercise especially in terms of Pilate classes.  Few people know, however, that proper psychological fitness training is also very important for overall health and optimum well-being. Pilates positively effects psychology and mental stamina because is supports, clears and strengthens the being.

Indeed, just as stretching, cardio and strength training are the three foundation stones of physical fitness (along with adequate sleep and healthy nutrition, of course) there are also three crucial components of psychological fitness and emotional fitness, namely affirmation, visualization, and relaxation.

Let’s take a look at these three integral aspects of mental fitness under a higher magnification.

Affirmations for Pilates:  Basically, affirmation involves self-talk and thus recruits the dominant cerebral hemisphere (the so called “left brain” in most, right-handed people).  Simply stating to yourself certain positive messages actually activates specific neural pathways that when strengthened tend to promote self-esteem and well-being.  This is not just psychological fitness – this is also tried and tested well-being which makes personal goals actual and achievement into successes. For example, reminding yourself things such as “I am okay, I’m on my way to a better body and lifestyle.  And “I’m a good person even if I make mistakes;” or “I am good enough” “I am fit” “I am healthy” “I can do anything!”.

Visualization in Pilates:  In essence, visualization activates the non-dominant or “right brain” in most people thus exercising important neural structures that further enhance optimism, confidence, and personal effectiveness especially in Pilates.

The major types of visualization techniques for mental fitness to use are goal imagery (e.g., “seeing” yourself having achieved a specific goal or outcome such as being 5kg lighter); process images (e.g., imagining yourself taking the specific action steps needed to achieve your goal such as eating more salad and less pasta); and relaxation imagery (such as picturing yourself on a beautiful beach during a perfect summer day with the perfect body for you). All of these are psychological fitness exercise techniques used in Pilates exercise to enhance your body mind fitness.

Relaxation and Pilates:  Various forms of relaxation training have been used for centuries as a way for people to gain control (and even mastery) of many of their physical systems such as reducing arousal in their nervous system and calming tension in their muscles.

Just as there are several types of affirmations and visualization methods, there are a variety of relaxation techniques that can be used to good effect.  Some people do well with progressive relaxation that involves alternating between tensing muscle groups and then letting them unwind.  Other people find simply letting go of tension in their muscles in Pilates without first tensing them works better.  Other relaxation methods Stretch and Relax include meditation, self-hypnosis, biofeedback and some of the visualization techniques noted above.

Ultimately, by working out with these psychological fitness exercises in the gymnasium of your psyche you’ll beef up your mental muscles and strengthen your overall well-being.

Remember:  Think well, act well, feel well, and be well! Live Well!

Most importantly, exercise your mental and psychological fitness and your opportunities will soar in achievements along the path to well-being!

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