What is Pilates?
Pilates is an exercise program that improves both mental and physical fitness, while focusing on the body’s core strength and alignment. It consists of a sequence of specialised movements that focus on specific muscles.
Founded by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s, Pilates was originally developed as a rehabilitation program for soldiers injured in World War I. The program worked wonders by toning, strengthening, and stretching vital muscles and muscle groups.
With the physical benefits of the original rehabilitation program, and the mental benefits of breath control and mindfulness, modern Pilates combines the most effective aspects of Eastern and Western philosophies.
What to Expect in a Pilates Class
It’s natural to feel a little anxious about trying a new exercise, especially if you feel unfit or self-conscious. The good news is, Pilates is suitable for women of all fitness levels, and can be adapted to suit any injuries or physical conditions you may have.
Here are a few things you can expect in one of my Pilates classes:
- Low-impact movements. Pilates is not a high-activity exercise, so there’s none of the pain, stress, or jarring movements of conventional exercises.
- Control of the breath. Focusing in on your breath helps you stay mindful, or ‘in the moment’.
- Conscious movement. Working the mind is as important as working the body. The goal is to enhance your awareness of how your body functions.
- Lots of core work. Strengthening your core helps with the alignment of your whole body.
- Easing into gentle stretches can help improve flexibility while minimising the risks of injury.
- Balance practice. Balance naturally diminishes as we age, and practicing Pilates can improve balance.
Top 10 Benefits of Pilates
Still not sure Pilates is right for you? Let’s have a look at the top 10 benefits of regular Pilates practice.
- Helps with weight loss by increasing muscle mass and speeding the metabolism.
- Increases lung capacity and improves circulation.
- Improves abdominal and back strength, which will aid in back support and may minimise back pain.
- Improves co-ordination, both mental and physical.
- Improves bone density and joint health.
- Improves posture and alignment.
- Relieves stress and enhances emotional well-being.
- Aids digestion.
- Encourages positive body awareness and self-confidence.
- Restore physical vitality and lifts the spirit.