Pilates is becoming more and more popular; not only amongst the general population, it seen as the ‘rehabilitation workout,’ by many health and fitness professionals. In recent years it has become the credible workout that helps
tone and strengthen your body. It can also have amazing benefits when it comes to rehabilitating injuries or general aches and pains that we have endured, when we are clearly not doing Pilates!
A bit of Pilates history…
Believe it or not, but it was actually a guy who realised the amazing benefits of activating the pelvic floor. Joseph Pilates founded Pilates during the First World War, whilst maneuvering the springs in hospital beds so they provided resistance to injured patients. I guess you could say this was when the reformer bed was born! Pilates thankfully ended up in America, where all great things explode! Since the 1920’s, it has become ever-increasingly popular, so I guess the rest is history!
Don’t underestimate the benefits!
Pilates has many benefits, possibly more than meets the eye. The prescribed exercises require you to synchronize your breathing with your movements. Which means relaxing your body and muscles and allowing your energy to move more freely. Some may find this hard, as quite often there is a lot of butt clenching and stabilizing of the core. I also find this requires a lot of concentration, which in my eyes, it can be far from relaxing at times! However, over time Pilates leads to a strengthening of the mind body connection, helping you connect with your body and stay in the present moment.
Here are some of the great benefits you can experience whist doing Pilates:
#1 Improves endurance of the body. The more precise you are with a movement the greater your level of overall endurance will be. As you isolate muscles you develop specific strength, which leads to greater power with all activities. Endurance also leads to stronger muscles and bones, which will ultimately assist with improving your health and longevity.
#2 Improves core strength and posture. This is particularly beneficial for the majority of the population who are in a job where you do a lot of sitting. Often we find ourselves hunched over the desk or slouching in our chairs like old women or men. Many Pilates exercises focus on improving posture through re-aligning and strengthening the deep core muscles along with muscles around the spine.
#3 Increases flexibility. Often people look past the true benefits of flexibility. Although being able to touch your toes is a great achievement for some, being flexible allows your body to perform exercises more freely and lowers potential injury that is often brought on by restricted or poor technique.
Who will fall in love with Pilates?
You will for in love with Pilates if you are looking to be stretched, challenged and willing to embrace ‘the burn’. If you have an existing injury or you partake in activities, work or exercise that is prone to injury, Pilates is great as a preventative and rehabilitation strategy.
Who may not be a fan of Pilates?
Although some Pilates studios are starting to offer ‘high-performance’ Pilates where you move quicker than your average class, Pilates is not traditionally a high-intensity workout where you jump around doing interval sprints and burpees. Don’t be misled when I say it’s not high-intensity, I strictly mean you don’t run or jump.
Are the exercises intense? Yes. Don’t venture into the Pilates world, unless you are ready to get seriously strong, toned and flexible.
Author, Pia Marshall
Pia is a self-professed fitness junkie. Founder and Fitness Coach at Melbourne Fitness and Wellbeing. MFW provides health and fitness services and products. Pia is currently helping women of all ages achieve their fitness and health goals through personalised online holistic weight-loss programs and fitness programs. Please visit:
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