by Fiona Smith
Pilates offers a true full-body workout by building strong muscles, supporting beautiful alignment, and encouraging the body to move as a cohesive unit. All of this means that Pilates can completely transform your body – so let’s take a closer look at why Pilates is good for the body.
Our modern lives tend to encourage poor posture. When we are driving, sitting at our desks, talking on our phones, and watching television we often slump forward with rounded shoulders. Pilates works to strengthen and stabilise the core muscles which helps to ensure good posture. People will often comment after attending a Pilates class that they feel as if they’re standing much taller than before they started.
Builds a strong core
Pilates trains us to develop and use our core strength, rather than relying on superficial muscles to hold ourselves tall. When we talk about our core muscles, we’re referring to the deep muscles of the back, abdomen, and pelvic floor. It’s these muscles we rely on to support a strong, flexible back; create optimal postural alignment; and encourage efficient movement. Our entire body is supported by a strong core. A strong core allows our neck and shoulders to relax and our other muscles and joints to focus on their primary roles instead of stepping in to compensate for a weak core.
Balances strength & flexibility
Pilates conditions the entire body. No muscle group is over or under trained. Pilates workouts promote strong, balanced muscles as well as improving flexibility, and increasing the range of motion for tight joints. The unique attention which Pilates places on core strength and full body fitness, provides an integrated workout which simply isn’t available from any other form of exercise.
Kind to joints
Many Pilates exercises are performed in a supported or seated position, with the majority of then being low impact. This means that joints are protected. Also, Pilates is an extremely flexible exercise system which can be adjusted to suit the needs of specific individuals in a group setting – even those returning to exercise after an injury. Exercises can be easily modified to suit participants of all levels – everyone from brand-new beginners, through to intermediate and advanced clients. As your skill level increases and your strength improves, the intensity of workout can also be lifted.
Increases body awareness
By emphasising breathing, correct spinal alignment, and controlled movements, through Pilates you become connected to your body. With each Pilates movement requiring focus and attention, we form a body-mind-breath connection which allows us to maximise the benefits of each exercise. This is perhaps the greatest benefit of Pilates which we take with us in everyday life – the improved body awareness which results. You’ll suddenly become more aware of how you stand when you’re cooking or cleaning your teeth, more conscious of how you sit when driving or working in front of a computer, and generally more tuned in to how your body moves.
Sounds good, right? If you’re keen to explore the benefits of Pilates for yourself, be sure to book yourself into a class. You won’t realise how much your body needs Pilates until you begin!
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