The Benefits of Pilates
You’ve seen the long and lean muscles of somebody who practices Pilates. They seem to move with a certain self-awareness and grace.
The outward strength is only one benefit to practicing Pilates, but there are many reasons why you should consider heading to the studio regularly.
What Is Pilates?
Pilates was originally introduced to help injured dancers and athletes safely return to exercise and maintain their level of fitness throughout their injury. It helps improve muscular strength by using a series of very specific exercises inspired by calisthenics, yoga, and ballet.
Pilates lengthens and stretches all the major muscle groups in a balanced fashion. This regimen uses controlled movement, rhythm, and breathing patterns for each exercise which are done with low repetitions and a variety of sequences.
11 Reasons to Try Pilates Today
Now that you know a little bit of the history behind pilates, it's time to learn all about the fantastic benefits of this exercise.
1. Individualized Workouts
Pilates is designed for each person and their individual needs. As the method can be customized, it can be used for a wide variety of people including athletes, pregnant women, those with low fitness levels, and those with limited mobility.
Pilates suits all fitness levels from beginners to advanced athletes, so don’t be afraid to try.
A quick tip for beginners: be sure to start at a Pilates studio and learn from a certified instructor. Once you know what you’re doing, you can leave the studio behind and practice at home.
2. Improved Flexibility
Over time, Pilates increases your range of motion and helps your body loosen up. This increased flexibility can also benefit your performance in other workouts.
Slow stretching helps elongate your muscles in a logical sequence that strengthens basic muscle groups and also gets into the often-neglected smaller muscle groups.
By focusing on and conditioning all these muscle groups, the increased attention and flexibility help reduce the likelihood of injury.
3. Increased Muscle Strength and Tone
Pilates is one of the few workouts where you can get fitness for your whole body. Your core muscles (abdominals, lower back, hips, and posterior) are all engaged during a Pilates workout.
The constant engagement of these muscles helps you build better endurance and overall strength. The results are longer and leaner muscles that give you more freedom of movement.
4. Improved Balance and Coordination
Pilates is based on unstable postures.
Balance plays a big part in many of our daily routines, from sitting to something more complex like trying a slackline in the park. By building up your balance and coordination, you minimize your risk of falling, which is especially a benefit to older individuals.
Coordination requires balance, skill, agility, and makes our movements fluid and efficient, which is why practicing Pilates is especially beneficial for athletes.
If you're looking to add Pilates or yoga to your exercise routine, you may be considering the question, "Pilates vs. yoga, which one is better for me?"
5. Healthier Joints
By remaining low-impact and elongating and stretching your muscles, Pilates maintains good joint health. The increased joint mobility that results means you’re less at risk for stiff joints and Pilates helps keep arthritis at bay.
Pilates exercises can be modified if you have stiff joints, so you don’t have to miss a workout (providing you are mindful and talk to your physician about your limitations).
6. Improved Posture
With many people spending their days hunched over a desk at work or their phone in their free time, posture is often neglected.
Pilates brings your attention to how you hold yourself even when you’re away from the Pilates studio.
The attention to proper posture during Pilates transitions to your day-to-day, causing you to pull in your stomach, lower your shoulders and fall into better spinal alignment.
7. Improved Concentration
Pilates involves a connection of the mind and body using a concept called “centering”. The postures of Pilates require focus to ensure you don’t lose balance and tip over.
This mindful control that you use in the studio flows into your every day and you will find that your mind is less likely to wander.
8. Increased Lung Capacity and Circulation
The breathing patterns with Pilates require attention during your workouts, but the perks don’t end when your workout does.
Proper, deep breathing cleanses the body of toxins which helps muscle recovery because blood is delivering oxygen more efficiently.
The increased lung capacity from the deep breathing helps improve aerobic conditioning as well.
9. Stress Management
It is a known fact that exercise is a mood booster. When we work out, we experience a rush of endorphins.
Exercise also bumps up your serotonin levels (the neurotransmitters in our brain that tell us when things feel good) which increases positive emotions. The sensory awareness of Pilates may also induce relaxation and overall stress reduction.
10. Energy Boost
You’ve heard the phrase, “You need to spend money to make money”, the same is true for energy. When you expend energy working out, your body generates more energy and increases your desire to work out more often.
In addition to the endorphins, Pilates incorporates mindful breathing, which helps stimulate a good mood from the increased oxygen and blood circulation.
11. Increased Body Awareness
As your body gets conditioned from Pilates, you become more mindful of your everyday habits and are better able to correct them. Some aches and pains, as well as former injuries, can be alleviated or avoided by being mindful of your stance. Remember, practice makes perfect.
There are many reasons to try Pilates, including better mental health, physical strength, balance, and posture. With proper instruction and dedication, you can benefit from all that Pilates has to offer.