How Pilates and ELDOA™ Helps Your Brain Function


When you think about how technology has flooded our everyday lives over the last number of years, it’s helped make our tasks more effective and exciting, but it’s also made a stark increase in the number of sedentary jobs and activities that steal our hours. And with that huge increase in sitting and screen time comes a massive decrease in physical movement – which is a key contributor in our cognitive decline.

What does the science say about this?

We all know that being physically active helps you greatly reduce the odds of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and helps to lower your blood pressure – So what does a sedentary lifestyle do to our brain function?

There was a study recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, that pointed to exercise keeping the brain healthy in old age and how older adults with poor fitness levels have more deterioration of white matter, which can lead to a weakened decision-making process.

Researchers say that there is one new case of dementia detected every four seconds globally, and it’s estimated that by the year 2050, more than 115 million people will have dementia worldwide! A scary statistic.

That’s a pretty alarming number right!

I’m using this slightly as a motivating scare tactic only to drive home the fact that moving your body can actually help ward off cognitive decline!

Have you tried adding Pilates and ELDOA™ to your fitness regimen? 

Beginning in our late 20’s, most of us will lose about 1% annually of the volume of our hippocampus, which is considered the “heart of the brain,” which regulates our emotions and handles our memory function. And while high-intensity anaerobic workouts such as sprinting, sports or interval training may be pillars throughout your week, Pilates and ELDOA™ exercises are great aids in the generation of new brain cells. When you take part in new movements and stretches, you start to see profound changes in your body, mind and emotions because you’re training your brain to act differently. 

Drive stress out of your body – and prevent it from entering your mind

Stress hormones settle in our body causing hypertension, muscle spasms and pain. In fact, chronic stress can actually damage a healthy brain structure and harden pathways in the brain so it’s wired to believe it’s in a constant state of “fight-or-flight” stage.

The practice of Pilates and ELDOA™ lets you release your muscles and gain control of the deep core muscles that tend to be closely connected to your emotional baggage. These types of poses embody steadiness and ease, while teaching you how to gain greater control of the body.

Pilates and ELDOA™ relieves tension built up in the muscles through gentle stretching and conditioning. And fascial release techniques that I use in a lot of my classes will help you loosen tight muscles that are not responsive to passive stretching.

Here are four key areas where Pilates and ELDOA™ can help improve your brain.

  1. Improved Circulation: Pump even more oxygen and glucose to your brain by increasing the flow of blood. This type of movement can stimulate the growth of cerebral blood vessels. Remember, active people have more receptors in their brains than inactive people.
  1. Keeping Calm: Moving your body will help release the feel good chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin. This release acts as a natural anti-depressant and helps lower your stress and anxiety levels. Pilates and ELDOA™ let you concentrate your attention on one thing – your body. Whether you want it or not, you have to clear your mind of any distractions when focusing on your stretches and movements, and it helps strengthen your mind because of it.
  1. Enhanced Learning and Memory Function: Improved oxygenation as a result of moderate physical activity helps the brain function better. Also, challenging the brain with new movements and skills is a great mental test that can open up new neural pathways and improve your memory hardware, building a larger cortical map leading to better walking patterns and more.
  1. Disease Prevention: It has long been noted that physical exercise has the power to fight off the loss of cognitive function that is associated with age and disease.

Pilates & ELDOA™ are designed to give you energy and inner serenity and allow you time to check back in with your breathing. But the onus is on you to bring awareness to what you are experiencing in order to put you in a personal state of peace and tranquility. Take responsibility for calming whatever storms you have going on and easing yourself to being rooted in the present moment.

“A body free from nervous tension and fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well balanced mind, fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living.” – Joseph Pilates

“You are your own best therapist” – Guy VOYER, DO

No matter what type of exercise you choose, make it a regular practice and commit to establishing exercise as a habit everyday. Not sure where to start send us a note! Or Check out our schedule right here and book into a class (or private) and see how amazing your body will feel in just one session!

Toni Mustra