How Pilates Helps Manage Stress

A new study highlighted in a recent article in the Telegraph, suggests the reason Pilates may be so effective at beating stress is because the movements calm a part of the brain linked to the fight-or-flight response.

Man deckchair beach

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh discovered a circuit which links the brain directly to the adrenal medulla – the inner part of the adrenal gland which triggers an adrenaline surge during stressful situations.

The same brain network was also found to be connected to the brain’s motor cortex which governs movements.  Scientists think Pilates exercises which require coordination, flexibility and proper skeletal alignment may dampen down the flight-or-flight response.

In their experiments, the scientists traced the neural circuitry that links areas of the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla using a virus which they followed as it travelled between interconnected neurons.

When scientists traced the neural circuity which links the brain to the adrenal medulla, they were surprised to find that the neural network also linked to a part of the primary motor cortex which governs body movement and posture.

The findings also shed light on how stress, depression and other mental states can alter organ function, and show that there is a real anatomical basis for psychosomatic illness. The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To close, a cool chill-out track from haze pop band, Beach House…nice take on the padded room…every home should have one!

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