Exercising is very important for our health. It is not just a way for people to stay fit or achieve the “perfect figure”. It helps with mental health difficulties by reducing stress and releasing endorphins, or happy hormones from our brains. It also helps in maintaining proper health. There are different forms of exercising, some people might do yoga, others might choose to do boxing. One such type of exercise that is gaining popularity is pilates.
Pilates is composed of repetitive movements and it aims towards strengthening, toning, and lengthening muscles. It was created in the early 20th century by a man named Joseph Pilates. The exercises tend to coordinate movement and breath together so that the smaller and deeper stabilizing muscles of the body get as much work out as your prime muscles that are constantly in use. It was first heard when Hollywood celebrities started choosing it as their method of working out and with time, it is starting to become a household name. There are many benefits of doing pilates.
For the Whole Body
While gymming, cross-fit, or yoga, one has to do different exercises so that the whole body gets an equal workout. There are focused exercises and so there are days that focus on working on each part of the body. Even though many people like this targeted approach so that they can focus on the part of the body that they have a problem with, many don’t find it useful as well. In such cases, pilates is a much better option. There is no such thing as ‘core workout’ or ‘leg day’.
Pilates targets the body as an integrated whole, keeping it fit. This means that there won’t be days when just your leg will be sore or only your abdomen hurts from the inside. Pilates means the effort will be equally distributed throughout the body. If someone is looking for ways to keep themselves generally fit and healthy, pilates can be the best option.
Most of our work involves us slouching at a desk all day looking at our computers. When we are not looking at the computers, we are sitting or lying around looking down at our phones for entertainment and communication. These habits tend to deteriorate our posture. Most people in the world have terrible posture, we rarely have our backs and necks straight throughout the day like weak imbalanced muscles, back pain, headache, shoulder and neck pain, etc.
Bad posture causes many problems as we get older. Pilates helps a lot in improving posture. Pilates improves posture by bringing awareness to your alignment and strengthening neglected postural muscles. It focuses on the alignment of the whole body, a balance of all opposing muscles, and the ideal range of motion at the joints. Thinking about improving posture from a young age can be a good idea and pilates can help with that so that one can stand or sit tall and confident all the time.
Many people want to find ways in which they can get strong muscles but do not want to put enough energy into focusing on different areas at a time in their exercises. Many want to achieve strong and toned muscles as it helps with general strength and fitness of the body. Pilates focuses on strengthening muscles by toning them. It builds functional fitness and works well with the full body. Pilates uses a type of muscle contraction called eccentric contraction creating long, strong muscles. In this type of muscle contraction, the muscle elongates due to tension.
Pilates often have moves that ask your body to move in a controlled way and resist gravity. These moves help in releasing tension in muscles. It increases overall strength throughout the body. A study has found that pilates helps with core strengthening, back strengthening, and lower body strengthening consecutively. It can be considered a one-step solution if one is looking for strong and engaged muscles for body fitness.
Core muscles are the deep muscles of the back, abdomen, and pelvic floor. The core is the centre of the body and all movement stems from these muscles. These muscles help with the efficiency of movement, the strength of the back, and good posture. Strong core muscles support the frame of the body, enabling the neck and shoulders to relax.
Core strength also trains the muscles in the abdomen, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work together which improves posture and eliminates back pain, and reduces pelvic dysfunction. Pilates include lots of abdominal exercises that help with the strength and endurance of these core muscles. The muscles and joints of the upper body are free to do their job properly. Many people want to achieve core strength with their exercises. With Pilates, one can properly strengthen the ‘powerhouse’ muscles of the body.
Mobility and Flexibility
Mobility is defined as the range of motion at a joint. Flexibility is the amount that a muscle stretches. With most types of workouts, people stretch before and after exercises. Pilates combines both seamlessly because the movements are precise and slow. The combination of stretching and exercises help with mobility and flexibility. Better flexibility helps with pain in the body as well as physical performance. Flexibility also helps one relax, both physically and mentally since there is less muscle tension in a flexible person.
Immunity is very important in our body so that our body is ready to fight all the diseases and exercising helps increase it. Studies have found that doing pilates improves immunity, especially in older adults. The immune system improves when the blood and lymph in our body flow properly. Pilates improve body circulation which is the key reason for improved immunity.
Energy and Motivation
Pilates focuses on breathing techniques in its movements and exercises which improve the cardio-respiratory capacity of the body. This helps in the stimulation of better oxygen flow and release of endorphins and feel-good hormones in the brain and body. Yet, since Pilates is low impact, it doesn’t make you extremely tired, and instead boosts energy. This addition of energy helps one feel motivated. Studies have found that students who do pilates are often more motivated than those who do not. If one is feeling lethargic, doing pilates can be a great idea.
Pilates not only make you stronger and fit from the outside but from the inside as well. If you don’t have a pilates class near you, you can watch videos or get a pilates book and do them properly at home. All you need are some yoga pants, some gym shoes and you are all set!