The benefits of Pilates for health and wellness

How Pilates can improve how you look and feel.

Pilates has the power to transform your body and mind unlike any other form of exercise out there.

Many people confuse pilates with yoga, but they are not the same thing.

In this blog, we’ll explain why you need pilates in your life!

If you don’t practice pilates yet, we hope that by discovering the benefits of pilates for health and wellness, you’ll find a class and try it for yourself.

Who invented Pilates?

Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s as a form of rehabilitation exercise for injured dancers and athletes.

The practise grew in popularity and now boasts hundreds of thousands of teachers and students worldwide.

What is Pilates

Pilates is a form of exercise where movements are kept slow and controlled. Similar to yoga, there is a focus on achieving the correct pose and technique as you execute the moves.

According to Studio Pilates:

The traditional method is low-impact, focusing on flexibility, muscular strength and endurance. The exercises are performed with an emphasis on precision technique; balanced postural alignment; core strength; controlled, flowing movements; and using breath to center the mind.

Studio Pilates

Unlike yoga, pilates focuses less on the meditative or spiritual side of the workout but the main benefits of pilates is core conditioning and strength training.

Pilates sometimes involves pieces of equipment such as reformer machines (more on that later), blocks, straps and balls.

Pilates can be done on a mat or on reformer machines.

Reformers are designed with springs that leverage your body weight to provide resistance. As you perform movements on the machines, you’ll target specific muscles in a controlled manner.

It’s advisable to attend reformer classes with a qualified and experienced instructor who will guide you on the correct usage of the reformer machines.

The benefits of pilates for health

Pilates has numerous benefits for your health and wellbeing.

  • Increased flexibility
  • Elongating and stabilising the spine
  • Improved core strength
  • Full-body workout
  • Increased strength in your muscles
  • Improved sleep
  • Correct imbalanced muscles
  • Improved posture
  • Enhancement of balance
  • Improved lung capacity and overall blood circulation
  • Draining of your lymphatic glands
  • Relaxation
  • Lowering of stress levels
  • Greater ability to focus and concentrate

The best part is that a good instructor is able to modify the exercises to suit your current strength, fitness and flexibility levels.

Woman performing Pilates mat exercises.

One of the most impressive benefits of pilates is the focus on strengthening the core. This means that your stomach muscles will become very strong and this supports your entire body.

When your core muscles are strong, you’ll automatically stand straighter and you’ll find that all your other workouts are easier (from running, rock climbing, dancing and even tennis – everything uses your core muscles in some way, shape or form!).

If you’ve been looking for a form of exercise designed to target your weak abs, pilates has it all.

How often should you practice to enjoy the benefits of pilates?

The short answer is: it’s up to you. The beauty of pilates is that it can fit in with your busy schedule.

To experience the benefits of pilates, we recommend taking 2 – 3 classes per week. Of course, if you’re #obsessed then you can practice more often.

We recommend that you book an appointment with an instructor or go to a formal pilates class to get the basic techniques correct. This is important to ensure you’re doing the moves with proper form and to prevent injury.

Once you know what you’re doing, you could check out some free pilates workouts on YouTube. This is a great option when you are travelling or don’t have time to get to the gym. All you need is a yoga mat (or a few towels) laid out on the floor.

Our favourite instructor is Casey Ho of Blogilates who does fun mat workouts for all levels of fitness.

Check out the Blogilates YouTube channel here.

Closing thoughts on the benefits of pilates

Pilates is a wonderful choice for people regardless of their level of fitness.

If you’re unfit or coming back after an injury, pilates is a great low-impact option that will help you strengthen your muscles in a gentle, controlled manner.

And yes, you can also enjoy the benefits of pilates even if you’re extremely fit!

Use pilates as an “active recovery” session and also to keep your muscles supple and flexible.

Aside from all the physical benefits, pilates is a wonderful way to relax a busy mind and practice self-care.

It helps strengthen the mind-body connection and gives you a wonderful sense of accomplishment when you see yourself improve.

We hope this inspires you to find a class nearby (most gyms offer pilates for free to gym members) and start practising pilates today.

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