8 Reasons to Start Pilates Today
Last updated on : August 13 2020
More and more people are trying to live a healthier lifestyle. From a multitude of diet programs to numerous exercise regimens, finding a plan that’s right for you can be confusing.
One exercise program that has regained popularity in recent years is Pilates. Yoga and meditation enthusiasts often incorporate Pilates into their fitness routines, but it’s not just for those who already practice those disciplines.
Pilates can be for anyone. Young or old, regardless of your fitness level, Pilates is a fitness program that is widely available and has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity.
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What is Pilates?
Pilates is not a new regimen. It began in the early 1900s by Joseph Pilates and was initially called Contrology.
Joseph Pilates believed that flexibility was vital to overall health. He said that the stiffness of your spine indicated how old you felt.
If you are young, but your spine is inflexible and stiff, then bodily you are old. And if you are old but have flexibility in your spine, then you are young, as far as your body is concerned.
With that belief in mind, he created a low impact program that focuses on the body’s core but works other areas as well, in an attempt to bring balance to the body.
The goal is to increase flexibility, strengthen muscles, and improve posture by using controlled movements and specific exercises.
Some Pilates programs use a reformer, which is a platform that moves using pulleys and springs for resistance. Other classes use a mat, which is similar to a yoga mat but thicker.
You can expect to work your entire body using movements that are controlled and precise, along with very controlled breathing.
The benefits of the program extend beyond the gym into your daily life. Here are seven reasons to add Pilates to your routine today.
1. Works Your Entire Body
Have you ever found yourself dreading “leg day” at the gym? With Pilates, you don’t have the stress of focusing on one area of your body.
Pilates is designed to strengthen your core and work your entire body as a whole unit rather than focusing on one area. Exercises are done with concentrated fluid movements while maintaining focused breathing practices.
Additionally, participants learn to execute the movements with graceful ease. The goal is to bring balance and overall strength to your form.
The whole-body approach encompasses breathing and mental awareness too. The method makes Pilates an excellent stand-alone workout routine as well as a nice complement to other physical activities that focus more on one area of the body.
2. Good at Any Fitness Level
When you are beginning an exercise regimen, the usual concern is that you won’t be able to complete the program successfully. Age and fitness level are factors that contribute to this fear.
When you feel that you can’t successfully reach your fitness goals, human nature leads you to walk away from the program feeling defeated.
With Pilates, there are programs for a variety of fitness levels, including beginners, and even beginners can see the benefits of Pilates relatively quickly.
Regardless of age or fitness level, the exercises associated with Pilates can be easily modified to create a personalized workout. Learning to execute the routines safely and in a controlled manner, are a large part of the initial lessons in a beginner’s class.
Due to its flexibility, Pilates is beneficial to those people who are in rehabilitation due to accidents or injuries.
With the availability of Pilates classes today, it’s become easier to incorporate a Pilates regimen into your exercise routine. Discuss your fitness level with your instructor to find the course that’s appropriate for you.
3. Improves Flexibility and Strength
When your muscles feel tight, it’s difficult to imagine performing even simple tasks. Something as simple as retrieving an item from a grocery store shelf can be difficult, if not impossible.
With Pilates, the exercises help to loosen and strengthen muscles to help you increase your range of motion. As you gain flexibility, everyday tasks become more manageable, and your quality of life begins to change.
Increased flexibility will also improve movement in your joints, helping to ease minor aches and pains, including back pain, as well as giving you a better sense of balance.
Hand-in-hand with flexibility comes strength. When you have a strong core, your joints, other muscles, and the rest of your body can function adequately without added strain. Pilates is designed to help you strengthen your core.
When you work your core, you exercise the muscles of the abdomen, the pelvic floor, and the deep muscles of the lower back.
When those muscles are strong, they provide the proper support you need for the rest of your body. Strengthened core muscles can also result in a more toned, flat abdomen.
A side benefit to a stronger, more flexible body is the possibility of improved sex life.
4. Improves Posture
Increased flexibility, strength, and balance improves your posture. As muscles loosen, your body gently stretches and straightens.
The whole-body approach of Pilates allows you to target and improve perceived flaws that differentiate one side of your body from the other.
As your joints and muscles become more flexible, and your core becomes stronger, you will naturally stand straighter. And this straighter alignment gives you a better overall posture.
Improved posture has the benefit of decreasing overall back pain as well as relieving stress on your joints.
It also helps to maintain your overall core strength, as well. When you hold yourself up correctly, your muscles stay more relaxed, and your core muscles hold the frame of your body in better alignment.
5. Increases Energy
Exercise makes you feel energized. As you work out, your body releases endorphins that leave you with increased energy and feeling better in general.
Pilates helps you to focus your breathing which increases circulation while working your entire body. The result is increased energy.
You don’t have to have a long workout session to experience the increased energy levels. Even a short five-minute routine at your desk can leave you feeling more energized.
Increased energy makes you better able to complete other activities throughout your day.
Increased energy is another way that Pilates benefits all aspects of your life, including your bedroom activities.
6. Facilitates Weight Loss
When you are carrying a few extra pounds on your frame, it's hard to consider exercise. Yet medical professionals and fitness gurus all encourage activity as a means of increasing weight loss.
The whole body structure of a Pilates workout helps you to burn calories while toning your body at the same time. The constant movement of the exercises provides a cardio aspect to the routine facilitating caloric burn.
The exercises tackle trouble areas like the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks, tightening them through core strengthening routines.
As you execute the focused movements of Pilates, you will find that your body begins to tone, making you look and feel better than ever. As you learn the graceful movements of the exercise, you’ll start to move more gracefully in general, giving you a more fit feeling and appearance.
7. Helps You Sleep Better
A state of mental calmness before bedtime is crucial for getting a good night’s sleep. Pilates can help you do this.
In general, working out and stretching will tire you out and naturally help you sleep better. But Pilates has some additional exercises you can do to help with your sleep goals specifically.
There are four recommended exercises to do before getting in bed — the Wall Roll Down, the Rollback, the Spine Stretch, and the Pelvic Curl.
There are even some Pilates exercises you can do IN BED.
To perfect your sleep environment, according to Joseph Pilates himself, try these tips:
- Don’t use bulky pillows
- Choose the right bed with a firm mattress.
- Use lightweight blankets (just enough to keep you warm)
- Make the room cool in temperature, dark, and quiet.
8. Urges a Mind/Body Connection
Joseph Pilates insisted that his program was “the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” You perform every piece of the routine with total focus on your movement.
The routines are done with concentration, control, precision, and focused breathing. This concentrated effort links the mind and body through complete awareness of your movements.
Centering your mind keeps you keenly aware of how each exercise is executed and removes the distraction of outside influences. One benefit of the healthy mind/body connection of Pilates is an overall awareness of the relationship in daily life.
As you focus your mind for the execution of your Pilates routine, you become more aware of your body in general. This awareness can help you to notice when something isn’t quite right with your body, leading to earlier intervention when you have issues.
With the most recent resurgence in the popularity of Pilates, many people think it’s a new exercise program, but it’s been in existence for over a hundred years.
Joseph Pilates was a student of exercise programs, and he created Pilates to focus on the connection between the mind and body while building strength, flexibility, and balance.
Pilates is easy enough for anyone to be able to participate, yet complex enough to have long-lasting fitness benefits.
The regimen is an entire body workout that has noticeable results after having taken just a few classes.
Pilates is an excellent addition to any workout routine if your goal is to increase your strength, balance, and flexibility. Try combining it with squats or deadlifts for long term benefits and watching out for common workout mistakes that might hurt your fitness goals.
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