Pilates is currently a really big trend and there is a really good reason for it. You may have never tried Pilates before, and maybe you even think that it’s just another useless fad, but that is definitely not the case. There are a ton of benefits of Pilates, and engaging in it on a regular basis will definitely help you in a number of ways. Core strength, flexibility, mental awareness, increased energy, pain treatment, and several other benefits are all to be reaped from this simple yet challenging type of exercise. Keep reading and find out just how many advantages that you can gain from a regular Pilates routine!
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a type of mind – body exercise which incorporates several key elements including breathing, flow, concentration, and a few other principles too. Pilates is similar to Yoga, however, it focuses more on proper form and also emphasizes core strength as well.
Pilates involves various stretches, poses, and other exercises which help to increase strength, flexibility, the mind - body connection, and much more. Interestingly enough, Pilates was created by a man named Joseph Pilates and it was originally meant as a way to rehabilitate injured dancers through a variety of methods.
Benefit #1: Pilates Is Very Adaptable
Something that is great about Pilates is that people of all fitness levels can do it. There are many different types of exercise out there. Some types of exercise are only good for beginners who are just getting into the workout scene and some types of exercise are only ideal for people who are already very fit.
Sure, those exercises are great if you are at a certain level of fitness, but it means having to be selective in what kind of exercises you can do. On the other hand, Pilates is very versatile and people of all fitness levels can do it. There are various different Pilates workouts that can cater towards the fitness levels of all.
If you are a beginner and are just getting back into a healthy lifestyle, you can try a Pilates class for beginners. On the other hand, if you are already very fit you can also take an intermediate Pilates class or even one for experts. There are also various Pilates classes which are ideal for men, women, children, and seniors too.
All of the exercises and poses involved in Pilates can be easily modified for any fitness levels. It’s a great base to get you started and at the same time can also pose a huge challenge, even for people that are already in good shape.
Benefit #2: It’s A Full Body Workout
One of the biggest benefits that you can get from doing Pilates is that it counts as a full body workout. Unlike many other forms of exercise which only target specific muscle groups, Pilates works on the whole body at once.
Various different types of exercise will work on one part of the body while neglecting other parts, thus overdeveloping some parts while at the same time leaving other parts underdeveloped. Pilates does not do that because the various movements and poses train every single muscle in the body, thus being a balanced muscle building type of exercise.
It tones your whole body at once without leaving some parts more developed than others. Pilates does focus mainly on the core, however, all of the exercises train the core plus a whole lot more. It’s really great because it trains your flexibility, mobility, strength, coordination, balance, and mental fitness all at once.
It only takes 1 hour, or even just 30 minutes of Pilates per day to achieve a full body workout without the need for a bunch of exercise equipment. Pilates is literally one of the best exercises that you can do to give your body a top to bottom workout.
Benefit #3: Increases Your Flexibility
The next thing that is fantastic about Pilates is that it is great for increasing your overall flexibility. A lack of flexibility is a problem that many people experience and it can be a real drag when it comes to everyday life.
Not being flexible makes your everyday life more difficult plus it also increases your chances of injury, especially in your old age. Pilates is one of the best things that you can do to increase the flexibility of all of your muscles.
One recent medical study showed that 12 weeks of Pilates classes significantly improved the overall flexibility in the participants. There are so many different exercises, stretches, and poses that are involved in Pilates and they all go a long way in creating increased flexibility.
Even better is the fact that even a beginner, low intensity, and equipment free Pilates class can greatly improve flexibility in all people. Participating in Pilates on a regular basis will make you much more flexible, thus making your life a lot easier and reducing your chances of pulling a muscle or suffering from other muscle related injuries.
Benefit #4: Strengthens Your Core
Another big benefit that comes along with doing Pilates on a regular basis is that it goes a very long way in helping you to strengthen your core. By your core, we are mainly referring to your abdominal muscles as well as your lower back. In essence, your core is the center of your body and it can greatly benefit from a daily Pilates routine.
Pilates integrates many different stretches, poses, and exercises which work to strengthen all of the essential parts of your core. Pilates challenges your core muscles in a variety of ways that increase both their strength and endurance with minimal effort. Another thing that needs mentioning is that many different exercises which challenge your core muscles don’t really help to strengthen your lower back.
On the other hand, many different exercises which help to strengthen your lower back don’t really challenge your core muscles all that much. Pilates is great because it works to strengthen your core muscles at the same time as it strengthens your back and gives you spinal stability. This is in part because Pilates incorporates a ton of different core strengthening exercises. Moreover, Pilates is one of the most effective methods of exercise that utilizes your core muscles to the maximum.
Benefit #5: Better Posture
The next really great part about Pilates is that it can go a long way in improving your posture, thus increasing the strength of your back, the health of your spine, and it makes you look more dignified too.
Pilates is fantastic because as we mentioned before, it helps to increase your core strength as well as your flexibility and that goes a long way in improving your posture. Having greater abdominal strength means that your core has an increased ability to support itself and your upper body, thus bettering your posture.
To include some scientific evidence, the use of Pilates works to reduce posterior and mediolateral scapular displacements and it also helps reduce upper thoracic extension and lumbar lateral flexion. Pilates also helps to increase the activity of the ipsilateral cervical erector spinae, thus helping your posture. In short, Pilates helps improve your posture in a variety of ways. Of course having better core posture, a stronger core, and better spinal posture reduces the chances of suffering from chronic back problems and also helps to reduce the onset of shoulder and neck problems too.
Benefit #6: Pilates Can Be Learned Through A Variety Of Methods
Something else that is really great about Pilates is that it can be learned through a variety of ways. It’s great because some people like to exercise in the gym, some like to do it in a group setting, some like their privacy, some like learning it from a book, from an instructional video, or from a teacher too.
This is why Pilates is so fantastic. You can take a Pilates class at your local gym or even at a specialized Pilates studio, where you are being taught by a teacher and can even make some new friends too. If the gym or a group setting is not your thing, you can also learn Pilates at home from a YouTube video, from a specialized Pilates DVD, or you can read one of many instructional Pilates books too.
This is fantastic because everybody likes to workout in a different way, people learn in different ways, and people like to exercise in different settings, all factors which Pilates can accommodate. No matter what your preferences are, Pilates will be able to satisfy them as there are so many different ways to learn it.
Benefit #7: Reduction Of Back Pain
One of the best things that Pilates can do for you is to reduce back pain, especially chronic lower back pain. There are many different kinds of back pain, many of which are caused by not being flexible, by having bad posture, having a weak core, or from not stretching enough. Moreover, of course, back pain can also be caused by various chronic conditions.
The point is that Pilates helps to increase your core strength, it betters your posture, and increases your flexibility too, all things which go a long way in reducing back pain. The various exercises, poses, stretches, and breathing techniques which Pilates incorporates all help to reduce back pain.
One study found that doing Pilates frequently helps to lower the level of functional back disability and also greatly reduces the pain intensity from people that suffer from chronic lower back pain. Even better is the fact that Pilates can help reduce back pain for up to 1 year after you actually stop doing it. Of course, it is recommended that you keep up with a regular Pilates routine in order to achieve maximum back pain relief results.
Benefit #8: Mind – Body Connection
The next thing that will surprise you about Pilates is that it is a great type of exercise for increasing your mind – body connection and your overall awareness of your body. Pilates involves many different breathing techniques, poses, and stretches which require a lot of focus and coordination.
Moreover, the various exercises that Pilates involves require you to use your mind in order to be aware of your body. This is because Pilates often involves the combination of many different factors, thus requiring you to be aware of all the parts of your body, how they move, and how you need to move them in order to achieve a certain Pilates pose or stretch.
Pilates incorporates several key principles such as flow, breath, concentration, precision, control, and centering, all factors which help to increase your mind – body connection and make you more aware of your own body.
Benefit #9: Weight Loss
For anybody who wants to lose weight and get into shape, Pilates is one of the best ways to go about it. Sure, cardio routines and weight lifting exercises can help you burn a lot of calories, but they may not be right for you. Impressively enough a 1-hour session of Pilates can burn up to 250 calories, and that’s just a beginner routine.
An intermediate Pilates routine can burn up to 350 calories and an advanced Pilates routine can burn close to 450 calories per hour. When compared to other forms of exercise, Pilates is very efficient at burning calories. Not only does Pilates burn calories through the virtue of working up a sweat, but as is well known, exercise helps to increase your metabolic rate too.
Having a more efficient metabolism means that your body burns more calories and fat all on its own. If you are looking to get lean for the next summer season, Pilates is definitely one of the best ways to go about it.
The benefits of Pilates are virtually endless and there are so many things that a simple Pilates routine can do for you. If you experience back pain, want to lose weight, want to get more in touch with your body or increase your flexibility, those are all things that Pilates can do for you, plus a whole lot more too. If you have never tried Pilates we would highly recommend doing so because once you start you aren’t going to stop.
Any questions or comments that you may have about Pilates are more than welcome!