So you’ve heard about Pilates but you can’t quite figure out why people do it. You’re not alone! What if we told you Pilates is one of the most widely beneficial forms of exercise for every body type and differing ages, and that no … it’s not just for women or dancers!
Honestly, we could sit here for hours explaining all of the benefits of incorporating Pilates exercises into your training regime or physical therapy and all of the good it does for your body, but here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Pilates exercises improve posture
Most people need to work on their posture. For example, check your posture right now as you read this.
Are you hunched over; shoulders rolled forward; head hanging low? Are you seated all the way back in your chair with both feet planted on the ground? No? Again, you are not alone.
Pilates exercises help your posture by focusing on spinal alignment and stabilization. Not only do the Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the muscles that are responsible for good posture, such as your core, but your Pilates instructor is focused on making sure you are in ideal alignment as you move through your class.
Some exercises such as running and weight lifting can be hard on your joints. The consistent pounding of your feet as you run actually impacts your ankles, knees, hips and back. However, Pilates is different!
Pilates is a non-weight bearing exercise, which means that the impact from gravity on your joints is eliminated and is therefore much easier on your joints. Think less pain!
Pilates exercises build long, lean muscles
When the body is in proper alignment and is only using an individual’s body weight when training, the body builds long, lean muscles. Most of us connect dancers with Pilates. Well, dancers don’t want to build bulky muscles so they turn to Pilates as their source of stretching and strengthening.
Strengthens the core
Every exercise you do in Pilates starts with the core. Whether it’s working on your arms, back or legs, it all starts with the core. Sometimes referred to by Pilates instructors as the body’s “powerhouse,” the core is utilized by Pilates as the start to any movement of any part of the body.
As you progress through Pilates and build a stronger core, you will most likely notice less pain. How great is that?
Pilates is a full-body workout
Although some studios may have classes dedicated to certain body parts, Pilates is a full-body workout. Regardless of the class you take, you will work on every part of your body. Although you may not feel something working, chances are it is!
Easy to adjust Pilates exercises
Have you ever been to a workout class or the gym and found yourself unable to do an exercise because of a limitation you have? The Pilates method accommodates for limitations and modifications. Pregnant? No problem. Limited range of motion? It works with that, too!
Our Pilates instructors at the Rancho Santa Margarita Spine & Sport Physical Therapy clinic go through an in-depth training process in order to become a certified instructor. In their certification classes, they learn modifications for each of the exercises so they can help accommodate every person who takes their class. Essentially, Pilates gives you a customized workout routine based around you!
Prevents and heals injuries
This goes hand-in-hand with everything you’ve read so far. Non-weight bearing, less stressful on the joints, improve your strength – all things that help prevent injury!
Joseph Pilates created the Pilates method originally for soldiers injured in World War I as a means for recovery. From their hospital beds, they were able to begin their recovery process.
Pilates improves flexibility
Not only does Pilates work toward building body strength, it also helps to improve flexibility. From the start of class to the end of class, your instructor will guide you through exercises that are building lean muscle while still promoting flexibility.
Meet others with similar interests
It sounds corny but it’s true! If you are in a Pilates class to help strengthen your body and prevent injury, chances are the people around you are in class for the same or a similar reason.
As you become a regular in your classes, you will continue to meet more people. When you are out in public, you may overhear someone else talking about their Pilates studio, which could lead to a once unlikely friendship.
Or, for those of us who would rather workout in solitude, there are also semi-private and private options!
Pilates teaches body awareness
Something you may hear often in your Pilates class is, Where do you feel that working? Are you feeling that in your (fill in the blank)? While in Pilates, you will become more aware of your body.