Named after its creator, Joseph Pilates, Pilates is an exercise system that targets the deep postural muscles of the abdomen and spine to improve overall core strength. It emphasizes proper alignment, breath control, and concentrated movement to achieve results.
Pilates exercises are done on either a mat or specialized equipment. They can be performed with little or no equipment at all, making it a very versatile form of exercise.
Pilates is considered a low-impact workout, as it puts minimal stress on the joints and muscles. This makes it an ideal workout for those with injuries or chronic pain. While it can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels, pilates is especially beneficial for those who are new to exercise, pregnant women, and seniors (2).
What Is Pilates Workout Good For?
The benefits of Pilates include:
1. Improving Posture And Alignment
2. Strengthening The Deep Abdominal And Back Muscles
3. Improving Flexibility And Range Of Motion
Flexibility is the measure of how far a muscle can lengthen. Range of motion is the measure of how far a joint can move. Pilates exercises help to improve both flexibility and range of motion, making everyday activities easier (1).
4. Improving Breathing Efficiency
Proper breathing is essential for overall health and well-being. Pilates exercises help to improve the efficiency of the respiratory system, which can lead to better overall health (1).
5. Improving Balance And Coordination
6. Reducing Stress
Pilates exercises help to relax the mind and body, which can reduce stress levels. This can lead to improved sleep, concentration, and overall mood (3).
7. Correcting Muscle Imbalances
Muscle imbalances occur when there is an unequal strength or flexibility between opposing muscles. This can lead to pain and injuries. Pilates exercises help to correct muscle imbalances by lengthening and strengthening muscles (2).
8. Rehabilitating Injuries
Pilates exercises can be modified to accommodate injuries. This makes it an ideal workout for those who are recovering from an injury or surgery. Pilates reformer workouts are a great way to start your rehabilitation journey (2).
9. Improving Bone Density
Pilates exercises help to improve bone density by working the muscles and joints. This can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases (1).
How Is Pilates Different From Yoga?
Pilates and yoga are both forms of exercise that emphasize breath control, concentration, and proper alignment. However, there are some key differences between the two.
Pilates is an exercise system that targets the deep postural muscles of the abdomen and spine to improve overall core strength. Yoga emphasizes overall health and well-being. The former focuses on repetitive exercises while the latter focuses on holding poses for an extended period of time (2).
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How To Get Started With Pilates
To get started with Pilates, it is recommended that you find a class or instructor who is certified in Pilates instruction.
Once you have found a class or instructor, you will need to purchase a mat and some comfortable clothing. You may also want to invest in a Pilates reformer, which is a piece of equipment that is often used in Pilates classes.
Some basic pilates mat exercises you may want to try include:
- The Hundred
- Roll Up
- Single Leg Circles
- Double Leg Stretch
- Spine Twist
If you are new to exercise, pregnant, or have any medical conditions, it is important to speak with your doctor before starting a Pilates workout.
The Bottom Line
Pilates is a great workout for people who want to improve their overall fitness and strength without putting stress on their joints. It is also an excellent choice for those who are new to exercise, pregnant women, and seniors.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Effects of a Pilates exercise program on muscle strength, postural control and body composition (2015, nih.gov)
- Everything You Want to Know About Pilates (2020, clevelandclinic.org)
- The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways (2017, nih.gov)