Pilates Benefits include:
- improves flexibility
- increases muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body)
- balances muscular strength on both sides of your body
- enhances muscular control of your back and limbs
- improves stabilisation of your spine
- improves posture
- rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances
- improves physical coordination and balance
- relaxation of your shoulders, neck and upper back
- safe rehabilitation of joint and spinal injuries
- prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
- increases lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing
- improves concentration
- increases body awareness
- stress management and relaxation
Pilates is suitable for everyone
Pilates accommodates everyone, from beginner to advance levels. Exercises are achieved with using your own body weight, or with the help of various pieces of equipment.
A Pilates class includes a number of exercises (repertoire) and stretches, each exercise is implemented with attention to the correct breathing techniques and abdominal muscle control. To gain the maximum benefit, you should do Pilates at least two or three times per week, you will start to notice postural improvements after 8 to 10 classes.
Pilates and challenging your body
Pilates is partially inspired by yoga, however it is different in one key respect – yoga is made up of a series of static postures, while Pilates is created on placing yourself into unstable positions and challenging the body by breath with muscle control while moving the limbs.
For instance, imagine you are lying on your back, with bent knees and both feet on the floor. A Pilates exercise may involve straightening both legs, and slowly raise your head, shoulder and finally your torso to a curved (flexed) spine seated position. You need strong abdominal muscles to keep your hips square, and focused attention to stop your legs from lifting off the floor.
Types of Pilates
The two basic forms of Pilates are:
- Mat Pilates:– this is a series of exercises performed on the floor using gravity and your own body weight to provide resistance. The main aim is to condition the deeper, supporting muscles of your body to improve posture, balance and coordination.
- Equipment Pilates:– this includes specific equipment that works against spring-loaded resistance, including the ‘reformer’, which is a moveable carriage that you push and pull along its tracks. Some forms of Pilates include weights (such as dumbbells) and other types of small equipment that offer resistance to the muscles.
Quality in a Pilates workout
Pilates consists of moving through each exercise with control in a continuous series of exercises using abdominal control and the correct breathing technique. The quality of each exercise is more important than the number of repetitions or how vigorously you can move through each one.