Posted by on 12/28/2020 to Let's Talk: Relax, Soak and Unwind after Work
What is Pilates and What is Pilates Good For?
If you're looking for a new way to exercise and want to strengthen up your core and tone your body, we'd suggest giving Pilates a try. Most likely we've all heard about Pilates, but what exactly does this type of exercise entail, and how can you start practicing Pilates?
In this post, we'll be discussing Pilates in more detail and how Pilates can help improve your fitness levels and overall health, it can even be paired with other exercises in more of a fusion type exercise experience.
What is Pilates?
What exactly is Pilates? Pilates was developed in the early 20th century. It was created to improve flexibility and increase muscle strength and tone. On the whole, Pilates is known as a low impact exercise, but it can certainly pack a powerful punch when done regularly!
Practitioners of Pilates focus on posture, breathing, muscle strength, endurance, and muscle alignment. This focus, along with the low impact movements of Pilates, helps build muscular endurance and improve overall body strength. We'll get more into the specific benefits of Pilates in the next section.
Getting back to Pilates itself, this type of exercise has many uses. Athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and many other individuals do Pilates to enhance their body’s performance and endurance. In addition, Pilates is great for people's recovery process from sports-related injuries. Coupled with other rehab, it can help recovery time and end-results.
To understand this we, must first give some thought as to what causes many injuries in the first place. Sometimes it's accidental in sports, or related to other traumatic events. However, often-times the culprit is muscular imbalances, like the way in which we walk, bend over, sit, lie down, working out improperly, or not balancing our workouts to focus on adjunct muscle groups.
Consequences may be that some muscles become much stronger then others, creating this imbalance. Critical components of Pilates involve strengthening deep core muscles, muscles surrounding the pelvic area, and muscles surrounding the spine.
How Can Pilates Benefit You?
1. Pilates Improves Your Flexibility
Pilates is great for improving mobility and flexibility, it is both safe and effective.
Practices such as yoga, on the flip side, is great for improving flexibility, of course, as well as mind-body balance, but the flexibility honed in on certain types of yoga is sometimes to intense for certain individuals.
Doing stretches on your own could help too, but Pilates is focused and more accessible for people of all ages and skill levels.
A study done in 2011, showed statistical significance in active middle aged men and women (who participated in a 12-week long Pilates program) in abdominal endurance, hamstring flexibility, and upper body muscular endurance.
The above men and women only participated in a 60 minute routine, 2 times per week, for those 12 weeks. This may show that with relatively low intensity workouts, middle aged individuals have the ability to increase these variables of fitness.
2. Pilates Strengthens and Balances Your Whole Body
Some exercises are known to be practical ways of toning up and strengthening certain areas of the body. Pilates is different, not only does it improve core strength, but it promotes strength, flexibility and in some instances balance in almost every area of your body. In addition, Pilates also aims to improve your breathing and mental wellness.
It is able to do this because of it's versatility and flexibility to various age groups and fitness levels. It not only uses the core principle which is centered around core strength, and muscular imbalances, but can be modified to fit anyone's needs.
In short, Pilates is a well-rounded exercise that involves many aspects of fitness and includes, full-body fitness. This practice is specifically aimed at changing your relationship with your physical and mental self. It may be sometimes difficult to find a practice that is so well-rounded as Pilates.
To understand the broad reach and potential of Pilates, we offer this piece of research. A study in 2017, referenced prior studies proving that Pilates improved physical function in stroke patients with reduced independence, and referenced Pilates as a viable exercise program to improve overall quality of life in stroke patients.
3. Pilates is a Low Impact Exercise
As a low impact exercise, Pilates is ideal for people with arthritis, injuries, or other knee and joint issues. Pilates is by no means an easy workout. In fact, this type of exercise can get quite intense! However, if you have the above stated problems, Pilates can be the perfect way to keep your body in shape, even if you do have physical limitations.
As we've mentioned before, Pilates is low impact. What this means is that it puts less pressure on the joints and hips. In fact, Pilates is recommended by doctors to ease the symptoms of arthritis and joint pain, over some other types of more rigorous exercises, but you'll still be able to see results.
This is because Pilates can improve stability, joint flexibility, and can even lower your risk for future injuries.
4. Pilates Improves Your Posture & Can Help Manage Back Pain
Finally, Pilates can help improve your posture if you practice it regularly. How does this happen, you may ask? You have to understand, every person is different. Is there a uniform "correct" or "prefect" posture?
Your muscles all have an optimal length-tension relationship to make for better cohesion and alignment, or good posture. Spine Universe states that indeed habitual bad posture can cause chronic back pain, and Pilates is a resource that can help improve posture, inevitably decreasing pain.
Not only is Pilates a good place to start for teaching you good spinal alignment, but it also may help you mentally, by making one aware of posture alignment issues.
Pilates has a lot of benefits, and all these benefits combine for better muscle tone and posture. When you have better core strength and more mobility and flexibility you can keep your body upright, straight and just help with the natural pull from gravity.
Pilates may even set you up for future exercise programs that maybe you had difficulty doing before, like running, weight training, or even more intricate maneuvers you may find in practices, such as yoga.
A systematic review was conducted in 2015, in which the consensus suggested that the Pilates method is more effective then minimal physical exercise in reducing back pain.
What is Pilates Good For?
1. To Tone Up Your Body
We all want to look lean and healthy, but sometimes, it can be difficult to achieve this look. Pilates may make this process slightly easier for you, as this is a full body workout and really focuses on achieving better body alignment, flexibility and strength.
Pilates itself helps to create even muscle tone and a lean and fit appearance, but it's important to note you have to work at Pilates consistently to see these changes in your body.
Once your body is in better positioning and balance, naturally this will help in future training programs, muscle building, and injury prevention.
2. Helps Prevent Injury and Helps You Recover From Injury
If you are prone to injury or are recovering from an injury, Pilates is a great way to help your body heal and prevent future injuries. If you are rebuilding joints, muscles, or other injuries, Pilates is recommended for many recovery programs. It is all about stabilizing, increasing flexibility, ROM, and building-up muscular endurance.
Pilates is great for improving your range of motion and creating nicely balanced muscles.
* As always, it's important to check with your doctor (and/or your physical therapist) to make sure your body is ready for this regimen!
Pilates is used in a lot of rehab centers, but you have to tailor this exercise to your own body. Doing this with a professional will create the most successful outcomes!
3. Enhance Your Fitness Performance
As you know, Pilates is used to help increase muscle tone, joint flexibility, and overall mobility. Increases in these areas of fitness help boost performance in a number of sports and workouts at the gym.
As a result, many serious athletes and fitness enthusiasts use Pilates as a way to enhance their physical fitness and performance levels. This is similar to the way people take up yoga as a supplemental workout.
In truth, the many benefits of Pilates can help you in other areas of fitness. From upped recovery time to better muscle growth, and increased joint stability, everyone should consider adding Pilates to their workout routine!
Who Can Practice Pilates & Final Thoughts?
Many people mistakenly think that they can’t do Pilates. Of course, serious athletes and fitness lovers enjoy the practice, but this certainly doesn't mean that people of any age, gender, and fitness level can't and won't be successful.
Pilates can be adapted to fit your needs and physical abilities, it's not about being strong enough or physically fit enough to do Pilates, it's about how can you modify things to meet your needs and help you grow.