If you’ve been wondering, is Pilates a good form of exercise? The answer is most definitely a big yes!
There really are so many benefits of Pilates. The exercise method was invented by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, it’s a workout that has evolved over the years however the principles still remain strong.
But what happens when you create a regular practice, what does Pilates do to your mind and body?
What is Pilates good for?
Pilates is a form of exercise that will absolutely help to improve your posture. This is important, as we are living in times where we are sitting more, driving more and looking at devices more.
Have you heard of the term ‘tech neck’? It’s not exactly an official medical diagnosis, but a term that refers to the stress on your neck from excessive texting. This leads to neck and shoulder pain, headaches and more.
You can easily see it in yourself and in others, instead of the neck being an extension upwards of the spine, with a slight angle forward, the neck is now jutting out forward from 5 degrees to 60 degrees! Imagine the strain your big heavy head is placing on your neck when it’s out in front like that.
The movements with Pilates help to correct postural issues caused by this lifestyle.
Increased core strength and general strength
Pilates movements begin from the center, the core. As you practise, your core muscles will get stronger. This leads to more stability, balance and integrity in your movements.
You’ll often hear that Pilates creates long and lean muscles. This is because during a Pilates exercise there is a focus on lengthening and extending the muscles, while also moving with control and placing muscles under tension.
Of course, Pilates will create muscle tone and you’ll begin to notice external changes. However, the best thing about Pilates moves is that they are functional. Meaning, these movements will help you with everyday life.
Important for all ages but especially important as we age. Even older adults who have never exercised in their lives will experience these great benefits.
Increased Flexibility and Mobility
The exercises within Pilates are dynamic stretches, which mean they are active movements creating strength and flexibility all at once.
This is why Pilates really is so amazing, it creates strength and flexibility all at once in a balanced way. And each is as important as the other.
Improve blood circulation
Another great result of a consistent Pilates practice is improvement in blood flow and circulation. This is because deep breathing and good posture contribute to circulation health.
When we have better mobility and better posture in our spine, everything within the body functions a little better. Pilates focuses on both posture and breath.
Like any exercise, Pilates will elevate your heart rate which is important to boost cardio health. Your heart won’t pump as fast while doing Pilates compared to running, but this is actually a positive aspect. Especially if you’ve been sedentary for a while, Pilates is a perfect place to start.
Exercise is not just about getting fitter and stronger. It can be said that ALL exercise is good for mental health, Pilates included.
Exercise releases the feel good chemicals within the body, like endorphins and serotonin.
You will feel your mood lift during and after an amazing workout! Exercise can also reduce the severity of depression, anxiety and stress. Although you may not feel like working out, usually a workout will always shift your state of mind.
We like to choose movement we actually enjoy, this is why we practice Pilates! It means we look forward to the workout. It also reduces friction and excuses, so you’re more likely to actually move your body.
Gets you present
Similar to Yoga classes, during Pilates classes, your instructor will describe how you move with the breath. This action gets you present with your movement.
In Pilates you’ll inhale through the nose on the set up, or the part of the move with less effort, then you’ll exhale through the mouth on the stronger effort. For example, in a squat, you’ll inhale on the way down, you’ll exhale on the way up.
It’s important to perform Pilates exercises with correct form. The presence and focus you bring to a class is important. Not only will it create better body awareness and mind body connection, it will also give you more effective results and reduce chances of injury.
Especially now, when we have more distractions than ever (hello smartphones and social media). Any presence pratice is a worthy addition to your life. And to do this while you exercise, well, it’s a win-win situation.
We add this point because we know so many of you will be wondering. We spent years exercising for that golden goal, to lose weight. It led to an obsession with exercise, yo-yo dieting and our very low self-esteem about our bodies.
Now, we exercise to feel good, we exercise to promote optimal mind and body health. Ahhh, we simply exercise because it is fun! If you want to read more about how we changed our relationships with food and exercise read this article.
What we really love about Pilates
It’s a form of exercise that is accessible. You don’t need the fancy studio class and all the pieces of equipment to feel the benefits.
You can in fact, experience your Pilates workout in the comfort of your own home, with online classes! We’d recommend going for mat Pilates. All you need is a mat, your body and you’re good to go!
In this short 12 minute class, you will experience mat exercises that will help to build strength in your glutes, core and thighs and even arms and back. It’s also a lot of fun!
Emma, your Pilates Instructor will take you through an epic all 4s tabletop sequence. You’ll also see Carla showing all the options and modifications, it’s all about making the workout work for you.
If you have any other questions, get in touch, we’re here to help!
Emma + Carla
Ps. if you’re ready for more Pilates, sign up OVER HERE and we will send you a FREE online Pilates class!