Pilates is a form of exercise which concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength. It helps to improve general fitness and overall well-being. Similar to Yoga, Pilates concentrates on posture, balance and flexibility. This form of exercise was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany, who believed that physical and mental health were closely connected.
Although there are similarities between yoga and Pilates as they both focus on the mind-body connection, yoga tends to focus more on spiritual well being. It is a more relaxing form of exercise whereas Pilates is more physical and focuses on toning and strengthening.
Practicing Pilates on a regular basis provides plenty of well-rounded benefits. The great thing is that Pilates can be enjoyed by anyone and at any age. If you’re a beginner you can start with the more easier exercises and then once you’ve mastered those, you can work on the advanced moves. Always check with your health professional if you haven’t exercised for a while, are older or pregnant, or have health problems.
- Good posture – Pilates will teach you to gain and maintain good posture. The exercises require that your body is always in alignment. This is especially beneficial if you suffer from lower back pain.
- Clears the mind and improves your mood – Pilates focuses on providing balance between your mind and body, it gives you an overall sense of well-being. Pilates can improve your mood as physical activity causes endorphins to be released and causes a positive feeling in the body. Some scientists believe that being active can enhance wellbeing as it brings about a sense of better self-confidence and self-control.
- Muscle Tone – The exercises involve the use of muscles that you may not use on a daily basis. After the initial soreness, you’ll find that your muscles will be much more toned.
- Flat abdominal muscles – As Pilates focuses on strengthening your core which includes your abdominal muscles, you’ll find that one of the benefits of Pilates is that it will result in a flat stomach.
- Flexibility – As we age we tend to lose the flexibility we had when we were younger. Pilates is said to restore your flexibility. After a while you’ll be amazed at how much more flexible your body has become.
- Improves your balance – Through the mind-body connection, you will become much more aware of how your body moves and performs. Pilates not only improves your physical balance through correct posture but will also restore your mind-body balance.
- Reduces stress – When doing the exercises, you’ll be in the moment and won’t be able to think about all those responsibilities that weigh you down on a day to day basis. You’ll be more focused on your breathing and on the moves that you are making with your body. This is one of the best ways to relieve stress.
Shelley & Michelle xx