On your mat, get-set, go: Six brilliant benefits of pilates
Posture, balance, avoiding back pain… What are the main benefits of Pilates and should you start doing it?
Getting fit isn’t always about getting stronger or slimmer - it can be about improving your mobility, balance and flexibility, too.
These are the areas in which pilates truly shines. The growingly popular sport encourages you to reach total harmony with your body through careful balances and poses - helping you regain control of your muscles and move more fluidly than ever before. Here are some of its best benefits.
1. You’ll enjoy equally toned muscles and heightened flexibility
A regular pilates session (which can last anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half) is a full-body workout. You’ll end up conditioning all of your muscles, boosting your overall coordination, preventing injury, improving your balance and helping you to undergo daily activities with even more ease.
2. You’ll stand up straighter
Pilates aligns your spine, both in and out of sessions. The sport trains your body to move correctly - straightening out your injured muscles while strengthening the weakened ones, particularly in your back. This improves your posture and overall musculoskeletal alignment.
3. Your core will be stronger
A lot of positions in pilates specifically target your core muscles, including your abs, lower back and pelvic floor. This has a fantastic knock-on effect elsewhere, as a strong core supports your body’s overall frame, contributes to improved joint flexibility and, according to Fitness Magazine, even helps your internal digestive system.
Try some of these at-home Pilates exercises that will convince you to come to the club.
4. You’ll become a regular ‘twinkle toes’
Slips, trips and falls will be a thing of the past with pilates. Research cited on the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal shows that the exercise improves balance (particularly in the elderly) and can even be preventive - helping to lower the amount of times you fall over - as you’ll have more control over your limbs.
5. You’ll breathe better
Measured breathing is a huge facet of pilates - and for good reason. Deep, controlled breathing:
● Decompresses your spine
● Contracts and works your abs
● Burns more calories (as we get rid calories by exhaling during movement)
● Energises and stimulates your internal organs
● Improves your circulation
… and more. It’ll even improve the physical results of your workout. When you breathe deeply and deliberately in conjunction with movement (something called ‘set breathing’), your muscles benefit, as the oxygen flows to the ones that are in use and maximises their performance.
6. You’ll move on from muscular mistakes
Plenty of us move incorrectly in one way or another - in the way we sit, bend, work out and walk - which applies pressure on the wrong muscles, weakening some while strengthening others. This can lead to injury, or at least makes you more susceptible to hurt.
By becoming more conscious of how you move your body through pilates, and by reaping the benefits listed above such as boosted core strength and better balance, you can heal from past pains and dodge future ones.