If you’re all about putting the running shoes on and sweating it out in the gym, then perhaps it’s time to add something new to your exercise regime.
Pilates and Yoga have always been associated with peaceful, no-sweat and nirvana-achieving moments, but you should also know that Pilates has been used to cure some serious health ailments, in addition to improving posture, making you better in bed and clear the head out.
Here are seven reasons why you need to add Pilates to your exercise regime – do it just once a week, but do it:
1. No stress
Pilates, and Dynamic Reformer Pilates (that’s the one with the machines as opposed to a mat) doesn’t just make you feel amazing after a 60-minute session, but you will also see results quickly, which provides great motivation for future sessions. The classes are intense, it’s a full body workout. It’s also time-efficient – you can be in, worked out and out again in just over an hour. This is also mid-office hour proof, as you don’t particularly need to shower after a Pilates class; just a quick change and you can go back to the desk.
2. Arms like a Celebrity
You’d often read how celebrities consistently credit Pilates for their toned muscles. A great Pilates session targets small muscle groups with great detail and it helps build longer, leaner muscles, for those red-carpet arms. Yup, Pilates is responsible for improving core strength, flexibility and balance, and corrects posture, making you stand taller and look slimmer.
3. Exercise without the fuss
When going to the gym fills you with dread and you keep putting it off, Pilates lets you tailor your workouts and even complete sessions at home. The ideal way to keep up with your training is to have an instructor design a bespoke programme of exercises for you to keep up with in between your sessions in the studio, and plan a review session every so often to make sure your technique is still sound and you are getting the most out of your training.
4. Stay in Shape
A good intense dynamic reformer workout will see you burn many more calories than a typical beginners mat class. You can burn up to 300 calories in a rigorous session on the mat – but you need to be disciplined about how you move.
5. Improve Posture
Pilates programmes are praised by everyone from athletes to office workers for their ability to develop strength and correct posture in the key areas of the hips/lower back, upper back and neck – basically counteracting the effects of slouching. We activate these muscles in isolation and then progressively work them in more compound and dynamic functional movements (movements that you are likely to perform during your daily life).
6. You can do it when pregnant
Pregnancy and childbirth are times of significant change for the body, obviously. But some women don’t want to give up their exercise routine as soon as they see those little blue lines. Mums-to-be who regularly exercise their core muscles can expect to experience shorter labours and reduced lower back and pelvic pain. Just make sure you consult your GP about it before starting a class.
7. A life free from back pain.
Joseph Pilates was a German gymnast, born in 1883, who dedicated his life to teaching his exercising techniques, believed that poor posture goes hand-in-hand with poor health. Pilates was initially developed as a rehabilitative tool. He believed that by having awareness of breath and of alignment of the spine, we can strengthen the deep torso and abdominal muscles.
Have you tried Pilates? Are you a fan or not a fan? How often do you do it? Join the conversation below.