Pilates has been on the lips of most fitness enthusiasts in the past few years. Whether you are a new mom, runner, or golfer, chances are you’ve heard about the benefits of Pilates. You can easily access Pilates classes in most fitness centers in most cities.
What is Pilates
Pilates is a system of physical conditioning involving low-impact exercises done lying down or on equipment. It was developed in the early 20th Century by a German named Joseph Pilates. This system works by use of strengthening and stretching exercises, designed to develop the body’s core, mobilize the spine and build flexibility.
Many people who include regular Pilates in their exercise routines say they’ve seen improvements in range of motion, flexibility, circulation, posture, strength and a decrease in back, neck and joint pain.
Here are the reasons why you need to make Pilates a part of your regular exercise regimen.
1. Body awareness
This means being aware of how your body moves in space. In addition, It is having a complete coordination of your body, mind, and spirit or ‘contrology’ as Joseph Pilates used to call it. You practice each movement with total attention. Pilates emphasizes proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentrate on smooth flowing movement ensuring you become in tune with your body.
To integrate the body and the mind, we use concentration, centering, breathing, control, precision, and flow. These are the key Pilates principles that distinguish it from other forms of exercise.
2. Stronger core
Your core comprised of deep muscles of the back, abdomen, and pelvic floor. These muscles are important both for movement and stabilization of your pelvis and the spine. You will not get washboard abs from doing pilates, instead, you will build a stronger and healthy back and body as one solid unit.
It’s important to understand that the core is not just your abdominals as so many people believe, but it’s a group of muscles which work together as a unit to ensure efficient movement patterns, strong supple back, and good posture.
3. Learn to move efficiently
Conventional exercises that you do in the gym train the same muscles over and over again. This creates a muscular imbalance which is a major cause of injury and back pain.
Pilates conditions the whole body evenly as no muscle group is over trained or under trained. This, in turn, enables you to enjoy daily activities with greater ease and minimizes chances of unnecessary injuries.
4. Gain long, lean muscles and flexibility
Traditional workouts build short, tight and bulky muscles which are prone to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens your body, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. As a result, you are less likely to experience muscle pulls, strains, sprains or even tears if there’s a proper balance between your strength and flexibility.
If you practice Pilates regularly, it will change your body. You will develop a leaner look and be able to move with ease and grace. All this will make you look and feel very fit.
5. It’s gentle but challenging
Pilates is low impact and partially weight bearing. It is safe but highly effective. You are less likely to get injured during a Pilates session. That is the reason why it is perfect for rehabilitation of injuries and for pregnant and postnatal women.
Modification to the exercises can increase the range of difficulty making the exercises that appear deceptively easy into very challenging routines.
6. Increases energy.
The more you exercise, the more energy you have and the more you feel like doing it. Pilates gets the breath and circulation moving, stimulates the spine and muscles, and floods the body with good feelings one gets from exercising the whole body.
Pilates is good for everyone regardless of the level of fitness. Whether you are a beginner, elite athlete, or an average exerciser, you can reap the full benefits of Pilates by practicing it twice a week in conjunction with other exercises. Just like any other form of exercise, attending a group class once a week at your gym won’t do much. Doing a little Pilates is better than no Pilates at all. You can, however, reap the full benefits of Pilates when you do it under the guidance of a qualified Pilates Instructor.
If you are suffering from a back problem, don’t rush into a Pilates class seeking a solution to your woes. Granted, it will make you feel better, but it is important to get a proper diagnosis from your physician because not all injuries are the same or else you might end doing more harm than good
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