Why do Pilates? My top 10 reasons
Pilates exercises work your core
Imagine a tree with a weak, wobbly trunk. It would be vulnerable and most likely fall over. When you strengthen your core it provides stability for the rest of your movements. A strong core also gives extra support to your back and who hasn’t had a back ache at some point? Building a solid foundation will prove invaluable throughout your daily life as well as in any other exercise that you do.
It can be easily tailored
Some of the Pilates exercises are challenging. And different exercises feel different for each individual. One of the key aspects of a good Pilates class is the ability to tailor and modify the exercises to suit each individual. So it doesn’t matter if you are a marathon runner or haven’t done a single exercise session in your life, Pilates has something to offer you. It is great for young, old, big, small and everyone in between. So don’t be put off because you think it’s hard. A good teacher will make sure a Pilates class gently challenges you without pushing you further than you are ready to go.
Pilates corrects imbalances
Most of us favour one side of our body over the other. I know I do…my right bicep is double the size of my left from carrying my little one around all day in my right arm! Pilates gets you to use both sides of your body equally- helping you to become aware of any areas of weakness or tightness and then working on these areas to restore balance.
It improves your focus
While Pilates can be very relaxing it does require focus. Unlike some classes where you can totally switch off or mentally plan the rest of your day Pilates requires you to focus on how you are moving your body. For me this is one of the only times that my mind isn’t multitasking. Usually I have 100 thoughts buzzing through my mind but if I’m doing Pilates properly (sometimes I do get lazy and zone out) then my focus is 100% on how my body is moving and I find that extremely relaxing for my busy brain.
It helps reduce stress
This is similar to point 3. One survey that I read recently said that the average women gets 17 minutes of ‘me time’ in a day. That’s ridiculous! Male or female we all need to make time to treat ourselves kindly and to have some downtime. Movement is healing so what better way to destress than Pilates, a low impact series of movements. Plus, if there is a bit of relaxing music playing or there is a relaxation part in your class it’s a double win.
It increases flexibility
We all get stiff, so what’s not to love about a class that helps to work out some of that stiffness. Also, many exercise regimes focus on building up strength without considering what that does to your body. If you bulk up too much or really work your body hard it can leave you feeling tight. My brother goes to the gym regularly and is fit but his flexibility is very limited…sometimes he struggles to do up his shoelaces! Pilates is a gentle addition to any routine to help prevent yourself become overtight or stiff.
Pilates is a full body workout
Although we always go on about how great Pilates is for your core it is actually a great way of getting a full body work out. With such a variety of exercises your arms, legs, abs, spine and neck will all be used so it is an efficient way to spend an hour.
It can help reduce back pain
Some research suggests that Pilates exercise can help to reduce back pain, in particular lower back pain. I have seen from anecdotal evidence and personal experience that this is true. Strengthening your core and your spine as well as working on mobilising your spine can work wonders for back pain, as can improving your posture and understanding how to engage your supporting muscles properly…all of which you will do in a Pilates class.
It relates back to everyday life
While exercises such as running are amazing for developing your cardiovascular fitness, they don’t always relate back to how you use your body day to day. With Pilates you are training your body so that it can work well in everyday life. For example squatting can be related to getting in and out of a car. The roll down can link back to reaching down to pick things up. I really believe that exercise should improve how our body functions day to day and Pilates is great for that.
It makes you strong!
So it may not make you strong in the traditional ‘I lift weights’ kind of way but I defiantly noticed that after having my baby Pilates helped me to get my strength back. As you are using your own body weight as resistance throughout the exercises it is a good way to increase your strength without any high impact, heavy lifting, bulking up type of exercises. And a stronger body makes day to day tasks (such as carrying my heavy little baby on a long walk through the forest) a whole lot easier so thanks Pilates :)
So there are my top reasons...what are yours? x