Pilates is a system of exercises designed to improve physical strength, flexibility and posture, and increase mental awareness. It has evolved from the works of Joseph Pilates, who developed the exercises in the early 1900’s for injured dancers. It’s also recommended by most Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists and Rehab Specialists. Best of all, doing Pilates consistently can dramatically change the look and feel of your body so that you can move with ease.
What I love most about Pilates is the focus around our core. This makes me feel stronger, taller, and has helped me over the years prevent back pain.
Here’s what it’s all about:
Pilates exercises require you to engage virtually your entire body. At times, you may be strengthening one muscle while stretching another. This means it take lots of concentration; you can’t simply go through the motions like you can on gym equipment.
Pilates teaches you to think about how you use your muscles during your workout so you use them better in daily life. For instance, because much of the focus is on good posture and body mechanics, you stand and sit taller and walk more gracefully.
Issues like lack of core support, pelvic instability, muscular imbalances, poor posture, and lack of body awareness all effect back health. They are also issues that the Pilates method specializes in helping people improve.
Pilate is based on six principles: centering, control, flow, breath, precision and concentration. Combing these 6 principles is the key to a quality Pilate’s workout.
Here’s my top 10 reasons to give Pilates a go:
1.Improves Muscle Tone
Pilates exercises help to strengthen and tone muscle and bone by using your own body weight. Anytime you add muscle to your body you stimulate your metabolism, which, in turn helps to decrease your body fat by burning calories and fat.
2. Improves Flexibility
Pilates for life uses stretching flowing movements to help keep your muscles supple and flexible. A flexible muscle is a healthy muscle making it better able to handle stressors that cause injury. With increases in your flexibility you can do some of your favorite activities like golfing, playing tennis, bowling, or playing with your kids without the risk of hurting yourself.
Because this method of exercise feels so good to do, and offers noticeable results, you feel a sense of accomplishment, your self esteem improves, and a positive mindset will set in.
4. Improves Posture
Pilate exercises help us to stand taller and more confidently. Pilates moves actually help to realign the spine and major joints of the body through the corrective exercise sequence. This conscious movement practice helps to correct imbalances in the body that cause bad posture and tension. The pulling actions, as well as the core strengthening movements help to regain posture even in the most stooped people.
5. Improves Balance
By improving your posture you will, in turn regain better balance. Balance comes from the core or center of our body and when we strengthen our core we can begin to bring ourselves back into a more balanced, upright, stance.
6. Enhances The Mind Body Connection
The mind over body focus in Pilates helps to sharpen our minds by being always conscious of how we are moving. Concentration in Pilates is key in mobilizing yourself to perform the movements with ease and grace. Pilates will help you tune into your body in order to activate your muscles.
7. Helps You Sleep Better When I get up and do Pilates in the morning it helps release cortisol, a stress hormone that builds up in our bodies over night. Exercise helps to release some of this hormone, which if done early in the day helps us to concentrate better at work and then later we are tired and ready for bed at night. Pilates is especially for this because it does not weigh down your muscles and cause you soreness later. It stretches and strengthens them helping you sleep better at night.
8. Anti- Aging Benefits
The age of our body is in direct proportion to the age of our spines. If our spinal health is not well and we are stooped and weak in the core then we will look much older than we actually are. With Pilates for life you will realign and correct the spinal imbalances by strengthening the core muscles that support the spine. In turn you will stand taller, look trimmer, and be happy! This all relates to a young person.
9. Decreased Back and Joint Aches
Pilates trains the body so that all of the core muscles work together to support and stabilize the back. Part of developing effective core strength is to train the body to know when to release, as well as activate, its core muscles. So while core strength is the catch-all term, we might say that the core coherence that Pilates teaches is essential for back health. Pilates movements are low stress on the back and joints making it a perfect exercise system for overweight, arthritic, and the aging population. Most of the exercises can be done in a lying or sitting position taking stress off the back and joints. Due to the stretching and pulling actions of the exercises while stabilizing the major joints of the body we can more effectively strengthen the muscles that support these joints.
10. Increased Core Strength If the trunk of a tree is not strong, what use are its limbs? We can train our arms and legs to be strong with weight training, but in Pilates you are never working just one muscle. Why not get more results in less time? Train your center while stretching and strengthening other muscles. This is called functional fitness.
Try Pilates today! As Joseph Pilates once said, “In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 2 you will see the difference, and in 30 you will have a whole new body.”