Pilates is a great way to get your body in shape and stay healthy if you don’t know where to start. Pilates can also help with chronic pain and injuries. It’s important to consult with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Not everyone should do the same exercises or participate at the same intensity level. But if you’re ready, I have the top 5 benefits of Pilates waiting for you!
You can think of Pilates as a more intense version of yoga, but still very low impact. Pilates consists of 500+ exercises that stretch and strengthen muscles throughout the entire body.
Pilates requires dedication, concentration and focus, among other things. And if you are a beginning, there are modifications if you find certain postures challenging due to injury or pain.
Below are the top 5 benefits of Pilates:
1. Improved flexibility
2. Increase in overall strength
3. Greater balance and coordination
4. Exceptional posture and spinal stabilization
5. Enhanced relaxation and stress relief
Read on to learn more!
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise that strengthens your muscles and builds flexibility. It also helps to improve posture, develop coordination, and create long, lean muscle. Pilates can be done at home or in a studio with an instructor guiding you through the exercises.
Pilates exercises usually focus on one part of the body at a time, so you might do ten minutes of abs work followed by ten minutes for your arms or legs. The idea is to combine many different types of movements, stretching, strength training, and balance work, into one workout session that will leave you feeling energized and refreshed rather than exhausted.
History of Pilates
People have been doing Pilates since the 1920’s, thanks to Joseph and Clara Pilates. They originally set up a “body conditioning” gym in New York City for people who were recovering from injury in the hospital. The biggest part of his inspiration came from being an orderly in a hospital and helping people learn how to walk again.
Pilates is intended to be used by everyone, regardless of their age and experience level. Individuals will experience so many benefits of Pilates, including greater flexibility, muscle strength, muscle tone, agility, coordination and balance!
The Top 5 Benefits of Pilates
Without further ado, here are the top 5 benefits of Pilates broken down.
You may know that flexibility is necessary in many aspects of your life, but do you understand why? Flexibility is what allows you to bend your limbs and body. It can also be defined as the range of motion around a certain joint or muscle. It’s important for many reasons, like making it easier for your body to move, reducing risk of injury, and improving posture and balance.
According to Harvard Health, “Activities that lengthen and stretch muscles can help you prevent injuries, back pain, and balance problems.”
A lot of people think the older you get, the less flexible you get, but that isn’t true. It’s a skill that can be achieved at any age. Being flexible doesn’t mean being able to do a full split or even being as flexible as a gymnast. It really just means being able to use your muscle to its full range of motion in a safe way.
Much like yoga, Pilates ensures a safe but effective strategy to gradually work towards a greater range of motion through multi-joint movement. Through stretching and flowing through movement, Pilates provides the inevitable side-effect of greater flexibility.
Increase in overall strength
If you are looking for a way to increase your strength and improve your physique, without lifting heavy weights, Pilates might be the answer. Pilates is not just about flexibility and sculpting the body, it also improves overall strength.
Pilates uses resistance from springs, gravity, weights and other equipment to help build muscle mass in all areas of the body. This includes arms, abdominals, back muscles and glutes. It’s also an excellent workout for people who have sustained injuries or those with limited mobility because it utilizes core strengthening exercises that work without putting too much pressure on joints or bones.
Over time, through functional movements and muscle contractions, you will build strength and tone muscles, not to mention strengthening your core!
Greater balance and coordination
Pilates works to improve balance and coordination. It requires you to maintain your center of gravity throughout the different movements, which increases coordination as well as leg and core strength.
An improvement in coordination is great for daily activities and reduces the risk of injury. Pilates lays a strong foundation that allows you to enjoy all types of athletic activities without fear of losing balance or coordination.
Without improving these skills, the exercises would never be able to be executed properly. Through consistency and effort, Pilates will inevitably improve your balance and coordination! This is a fantastic benefit for functioning in every-day life and increasing your longevity as well.
Posture and spinal stabilization
Whether you’re a beginner or expert, going through the progressions of Pilates, from fundamentals to complex movements, will naturally create good posture.
Poor posture is a common problem in our society, thanks to hours spent sitting at a desk or hunching over a smartphone. Over time, this can lead to back and neck pain, as well as fatigue. Pilates can help improve your posture by teaching you how to properly align your body while maintaining your center of gravity. It naturally trains the body to act harmoniously through proper form and alignment.
The exercises in Pilates require you to keep your spine elongated, your chest open and your shoulders down. As you progress, you will learn more complex movements that put even more emphasis on maintaining good posture. With a strong foundation in Pilates, you will carry your improved posture with you into all aspects of life!
Enhanced relaxation and stress relief
Pilates is all about becoming centered, connecting the body with the mind through concentration and focus. Some consider this act to be quite a spiritual one. Nonetheless, much like yoga and meditation, Pilates often provides participants with a sense of oneness with the present, allowing them to focus only on the task at hand. This typically results in true relaxation, contentment with the moment, and, ultimately, stress relief.
What are the 6 Principles of Pilates?
The six principles of Pilates are concentration, control, center, precision, breath, and flow.
Be present in the moment. Move with intention.
Unlike higher intensity workouts, in which you try to go as hard as you can, Pilates is about having 100% control of the muscle.
A strong core means a strong body. Being able to bring awareness to the body’s center, will allow every muscle to work together more efficiently.
Form over everything. Pilates has specific exercises that are intended to work on alignment.
Controlling your breath is very important for activating muscles.
Once you have the precision down, a graceful flow for each movement is the next priority, connecting each body part.
How long does it take to see results from Pilates?
It’s really going to depend on the frequency and duration of your exercise! Most people start seeing results in as little as 3 weeks!