Benefits of Pilates
Pilates is a form of exercise created by Joseph Huberus Pilates in the 1920s that incorporates aspects of dance, yoga, meditation, and strength training to create a healthier body and mind. It is rapidly becoming a popular form of exercise due to the universal benefits of Pilates for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Pilates is Safe for Everyone
Pilates is a safe form of exercise for any individual. It is a low-impact exercise that can benefit everyone from athletes to the elderly. Each of the well-designed Pilates exercises can be altered to fit your specific needs, providing a variety in the intensity and range-of-motion. Even if you are currently injured, you can still perform Pilates exercises; however, this should be conducted under the supervision of an experienced instructor. Receiving proper instruction in Pilates can also help you to avoid additional injury and maximize the rehabilitative benefits of Pilates for your condition.
Key Benefits of Pilates
"I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They'd be happier."
-- Joseph Hubertus Pilates, in 1965, age 86.
The benefits of Pilates have been shown through example by the thousands of dancers and athletes that have enhanced their health and performance by incorporating Pilates into their training regimens. As Pilates moved into the mainstream, these health benefits can be seen to extend to everyone who incorporates Pilates into their life.
Improved Posture and Alignment
Pilates training will focus extensively on your posture and alignment. Each exercise provides specific instruction on how to position your body for maximum benefit and minimum strain. This benefit extends beyond the proper positioning during each exercise to carryover into your everyday life. As you reinforce the correct alignment during Pilates, you will begin to hold your posture more correctly in all of your activities.
Maintaining correct posture and body alignment can also benefit the internal functioning of your body. Extending the spine relieves compression on the internal organs improving the circulation of blood through this vital area. Pilates also incorporates breathing techniques to help expand your lungs and benefit the entire respiratory system. As you move through the Pilates exercises, the contraction of your muscles will circulate the lymphatic system, as well as strengthen the immune system.
Flexibility and Strength
The exercises you perform during Pilates will function to extend and soften your muscles providing increased flexibility and strength. By elongating the muscles, you can release them from a tense and contracted state allowing your body to move with a greater range-of-motion. Increased strength will develop without the addition of excess body mass due to the use of your own body weight as resistance during exercise.
Pilates is especially effective at developing core strength in your body. The core, referred to as the "powerhouse" by Joseph Pilates, encompasses the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks. These groups of muscles support and control the movement of your entire body. By strengthening the core, you can improve your posture, flatten your stomach, and prevent injuries. Remember, flexibility and strength are developed over time so avoid forcing your body beyond your natural range-of-motion.
Pilates is more than a well-designed exercise routine; it is a form of holistic exercise. Rather than only focusing on strengthening your body, Pilates incorporates the mind with each movement in a form of active meditation. This mental development increases your mind-body awareness in all aspects of your life. Learning to position your body correctly and mindfully will make you more conscious of poor posture during everyday activities of sitting, standing, and even working.
As you correct poor habits of movement through Pilates training, you can learn to avoid injuries related to postural strain and repetitive stress that are more common today. With time, Pilates will deepen the mind-body connection allowing you to move in an agile, efficient, and synergistic manner much like the dancers who originally benefited from Pilates training. When your body functions properly in a harmonious manner, the mind benefits as well. Pilates can do more than just make you look better; it can make you feel better.
Starting Your Pilates Training
The first step in starting your Pilates training is finding a qualified Pilates instructor. There are a variety of teachers available, so make sure to find one that is able to meet your specific needs, especially if you are looking to address any specific health conditions or injuries. It is always recommended to seek the approval of your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Search online now to find a Pilates instructor or Pilates training center near you.