Pilates sounds complicated just by its name, doesn’t it? What is it exactly? Sometimes fitness trends appear to be far more difficult than they are. If you’re curious but don’t know what it is or are scared to go into a class without first knowing what to expect, we’re here to break it down for you. So, now you can confidently strut in like you understand what you’re doing.
Our resident fitness experts will explain what it is, its origins, and the health advantages that this exercise can provide.
What Exactly is Pilates?
It is a strength-training exercise that uses body weight and springs as resistance. Joseph Pilates created Pilates, once known as Contrology. And he introduced it to the United States in the 1920s.
His workouts are intended to balance the body and target every muscle. Every Pilates session should leave you feeling stronger throughout your entire body. If you do it regularly, you will see an increase in posture, strength, flexibility, and endurance.
Can Anyone Do Pilates?
It can be changed to give a gentle strength training program or a challenging exercise. So, this type of workout would be suitable for the majority of people. It is suitable for both beginners and those who already exercise regularly.
If you’re a beginner, you may begin with basic exercises. And then move to more advanced techniques once you’ve mastered those. When you’re just starting, joining Pilates exercise classes or hiring a private teacher is a good idea. This allows the instructor to ensure that you are doing the exercises correctly to avoid injury.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, are older or pregnant, or have health issues, you should consult your doctor.
It may not be for you if you have any of the following problems:
- Unstable blood pressure
- A herniated disk
- Severe osteoporosis
- A risk of blood clots
What Health Benefits Can Pilates Provide?
When it comes to Pilates, the most common question people have is the health benefits of this exercise. The health benefits of Pilates, which focus on core strength, posture, and flexibility, include:
- Good Posture: Pilates teaches you how to improve and maintain your posture. The workouts need that your body is in perfect alignment at all times. If you have lower back pain, this is very beneficial.
- Muscle Tone: The exercises require you to use muscles that you might not use regularly. After the initial soreness wears off, you’ll notice that your muscles are much more toned. This is especially beneficial for the elderly and those who are normally quite sedate in their daily lives, as muscle tone is typically lost with age and inactivity.
- Flat Abdominal Muscles: It is a form of exercise that focuses on developing your core muscles, which include your abdominal muscles. So, one of the benefits of Pilates is a flat stomach.
- Flexibility: As we become older, we lose some of our flexibility when we were younger. According to one study, Pilates will help you regain your flexibility, but gently at first. However, after a while, you’ll be surprised at how much more flexible your body has become. This is especially essential for avoiding fall injuries.
- Improves Balance: The mind-body connection taught in Pilates will make you much more aware of how your body moves and functions. As a result, Pilates improves your physical balance through proper posture. Also, it helps restore your mind-body balance.
- Reduces Stress: While doing the exercises, you will be engrossed and unable to think about all of the responsibilities that weigh you down daily. You’ll be more aware of your breathing and the movements you’re making with your body. This is a fantastic way to relieve stress.
- Improves Overall Well-being: Pilates focuses on building a balance between your body and mind. In short, it improves overall well-being.
What Body Parts Does Pilates Target?
Pilates focuses mostly on your core, which includes your abdominal and spinal areas. As a result, Pilates is highly useful for those suffering from lower back pain.
Pilates also strengthens and tones your legs, especially your upper thighs, as well as your buttocks. Scientists proved Pilates beneficial for those who have arthritis because it helps keep your joints flexible.
Pilates is especially beneficial in avoiding arthritis and knee problems as it strengthens the thigh muscles.
What is the Difference Between Pilates and Yoga?
While the methods differ, Pilates and yoga both work to improve strength, balance, flexibility, posture, and breathing techniques.
Both systems emphasize the link between physical and mental health, with yoga emphasizing relaxation and the use of meditation. You can do Pilates on apparatus as well as mats, whereas you have to do classic yoga on the floor.
Pilates movements are performed in a fluid movement, as opposed to the static poses associated with yoga.
How to Get Started?
It’s best to learn Pilates from a qualified teacher, preferably one-on-one and in-person, especially if you want to practice on a Pilates apparatus like the reformer or Cadillac. You may, however, learn through a combination of courses and at-home training. You might want to start by watching a few online exercises to get an idea of what to expect from a class.
Start with Pilates videos for beginners and ensure the instructors are properly educated and certified when you’re ready to try Pilates. Rather than experimenting with various videos with various teachers, stick to a few go-to’s that cover the basics. Before trying other workouts, practice the basics and focus on your form.
To practice Pilates workouts at home, you only need enough space to spread out your Pilates mat or yoga mat on a flat surface.
The Bottom Line
Pilates, unlike many other kinds of exercise, is really for everyone. It is a system that seeks to strengthen your core muscles, increase your flexibility, tone the muscles, and help you stay in shape for the rest of your life. Starting with a mat class is better than jumping straight into equipment work. And you won’t need to purchase any extra equipment or clothing in preparation. Pilates is worth a try regardless of age or fitness level. And there is very little chance of injury if you practice with a good instructor.