For those who are looking for a change of pace or trying to spice up their stale fitness routines, Pilates might just be the workout you are looking for. You might have come across this popular workout craze on social media or from models, celebrities, or fitness gurus. What makes Pilates a popular workout of choice for many people is because it is a low-impact yet versatile exercise that aims to enhance muscle strength and flexibility, improve postural alignment, and promote spine health. Read on to get to know Pilates more and why you should start doing it now.
Pilates Improves the Mind-and-Body Connection
Pilates requires slow, focused, and precise movements, which is an essential factor in developing inner focus and awareness of the state of your mind and body. The progress and succession of the movements in Pilates are structured and gradual, making it an excellent health and clinical exercise for people of advanced age or those undergoing physical rehabilitation.
Even athletes are including Pilates in their workout routines because of its benefits in improving endurance, flexibility, and some degree of muscle control. Pilates also targets smaller and hard-to-reach muscle groups, which are often not included in most workout or fitness routines.
Controlled breathing is also a vital factor in Pilates, as it not only promotes more efficient oxygen intake but also promotes better focus and concentration when you try to match or follow the pace of your breathing. Some Pilates practitioners often compare this connection to meditation as both have a relaxing and stress-relieving effect after the session is completed.
The benefits of improving the connection between the mind and body extend beyond the physical aspects. It also improves your self-awareness, perception, and self-image to give you more confidence in interacting with others.
Pilates is Adaptable and Versatile
What makes Pilates very appealing as an exercise is because it can be performed by virtually anyone. Whether you are a professional athlete, a novice fitness enthusiast, or somewhere in between, Pilates can be tailored to provide core and muscle strengthening and body alignment based on your current fitness level. Its versatility also is not limited by age or gender as any person who is able to control their body can do Pilates.
As mentioned earlier, Pilates is adaptable to be aligned with whatever fitness goals you may have. Whether you want to burn calories, do extensive cardio exercise, enhance the curves of your body, tighten parts of your body, or improve your posture, you can make adjustments and apply customizations to your Pilates exercise.
When it comes to equipment, Pilates can be done with or without it. There are two types of Pilates you choose from: mat Pilates or reformer Pilates. The Pilates mat is thicker than a standard yoga mat as it is designed to cushion pressure points and keep you comfortable during extended sessions (a typical session lasts 45 minutes or more). The reformer is a straightforward Pilates machine that includes a sliding platform, pulleys, springs, and a stationary foot bar to provide varying levels of resistance.
Both types focus on controlled muscle isolation and strengthening rather than performing never-ending reps or reaching muscle exhaustion, so they are easy to get used to. Pilates can be done with a partner or solo, whichever setup you think is best.
Pilates Provides Complete Body Exercise
Pilates applies a holistic approach in training and strengthening the muscles to improve your overall mobility and physical performance. It works to strengthen and stabilize your core, which is vital to the improvement of other muscles in the body. As mentioned earlier, isolating and focusing on other muscle groups and areas of the body involves strengthening the core to support shifts in position and resistance.
It’s not just muscle strength that Pilates emphasizes, but also muscle endurance. Studies show that people who did at least one hour of Pilates twice a week for three months experienced improvements in hamstring flexibility, abdominal endurance, and upper-body muscle endurance. It is one of the reasons why Pilates is becoming a popular exercise option among athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and people from all fitness levels.
For athletes, improved hamstring flexibility is essential, as the hamstring is one of the most commonly injured muscles. For individuals to do Pilates three times a week, improvements in mobility, balance, and stability were also reported in a period of two months of regular Pilates exercise.
Pilates Provides Benefits to Your Mental Health
Going back to the connection of mind and body earlier: it’s not just the body that reaps the benefits of Pilates exercise, but the mind as well. As controlled breathing establishes a synergy between the mind and body, the improved intake of oxygen also enhances several brain functions, including alertness, enhanced cognition, improved concentration, and other benefits.
Pilates can also boost your energy levels, which can make you accomplish more tasks daily and improve your productivity. Increased energy levels also help battle fatigue, which often results in burnout or stress. Accomplishing more tasks can uplift your mood, which can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Like other forms of exercise, the synthesis and release of dopamine and other chemicals that regulate mood and happiness are increased, making you feel good while exercising.
It’s not just the exercise that improves your mental health but also the social interactions you develop while doing Pilates. Because of its popularity, Pilates can help you meet new people and socialize with new individuals and groups. There can be special events and activities in your gym that can give you opportunities to know people who share the same interests as yours. Expanding your social networks in real life helps become more confident and improves your perception of the people and things around you, as well.
The list of benefits and reasons to start doing Pilates can be exhaustive, and the ones covered are some of the best and most compelling. Pilates has a lot of fitness benefits, particularly improving posture, enhancing muscle strength, endurance, and revitalizing the body’s range of motions. It is also for everyone, no matter the fitness level, age, or gender, and is highly versatile and adaptable to be tailored around the individual needs of those who practice it. If you want to expand or redefine your fitness horizons, now would be a great time to get started with Pilates.