Pilates has many benefits to those who do a regular Pilates workout.While normally thought to be a way to achieve the long, lean appearance, Pilates can help many you realize any number of health benefits that you are seeking to achieve. For improving your weight and health, fitness Pilates is a great workout and a wonderful way to challenge your body and your mind. In addition, you can tailor Pilates to fit your preferences.
Let’s face it, as you get older, it can get more and more difficult to stay on top of your fitness. You have work, responsibilities, perhaps school, bills and maybe a family to look after. In addition, your energy is not what it was when you were in your teens. However, all of these obstacles can be a Catch-22. On one hand, you do need to take care of your life’s priorities. On the other hand, it would be hard to do everything you need to without good health and energy, which is what Pilates can provide.
Even if it has been months or years since you’ve worked out, you should not fear getting started. This is because you do not need to be an athlete to partake in fitness Pilates. While you will get a workout, you do not have to worry about straining your joints or running a countless number of miles to get there. And, the best part is you can do all of this at your own pace, within the comfort of your home.
History and Development of Pilates
Pilates is a system of exercise that was developed by German Joseph Pilates as a way to challenge and strengthen the mind and the body at the same time. Joseph Pilates was one of the first to introduce the idea that the physical and mental elements of fitness were closely related. The practice of Pilates was born from this very idea and integrates elements of physical and mental wellness in the system. Today, there are tens of millions of people who practice Pilates regularly and tens of thousands of certified instructors in the United States alone.
The Six Principles of Pilates
The first formal book on Pilates that was published in modern times went on the market in 1980 and was widely adopted by the practicing Pilates community. In this book, titled “The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning,” the authors identified six basic principles of the practice. This still hold true to this day. The six principles include concentration, centering, breathing, control, precision and efficiency of movement. Each of these elements is considered to feed into the larger picture of mental and physical wellness working together to make a person healthy and strong.
Benefits of Pilates
As previously mentioned, current and mainstream thinking seems to be that Pilates is good for toning the body and giving a person a long, lean appearance. While this is certainly true, there is much more to the practice than this. First, Pilates helps to build core body strength, which not only gives the core a firmer appearance, but helps to strengthen the back, improve posture, and many other things. The good news is you can start at any fitness level.
One major benefit of Pilates and building this core strength is that it naturally and gradually helps to align your spine. This accounts for many of the reports that when people practice Pilates, they overall begin to feel significantly better. Spinal alignment can serve to eliminate many different types of pain, reduce or eliminate headaches, leg pain, foot pain, tingling in the limbs and many other common ailments.
Additionally, consistent practice of Pilates can help people to lose weight. Keep in mind that it will not help a person lose weight as quickly as a cardio regimen with weight training mixed in, but the practice will work core muscles and strengthen those same muscle groups, helping to burn fat as well as improve the overall appearance of the body’s core. Pilates does burn calories so combined with diet, Pilates can definitely help a person to lose weight.
How Pilates is Different
In addition to a regular cardio and weight regimen, Pilates can really sculpt and shape the body in ways that other exercise cannot. Many of a the actions performed when practicing Pilates are performed slowly, which trains the muscles in a very different way and results in longer and leaner shaped limbs and torso.
Pilates is also the workout of choice for many because it truly gives participants a full body workout in one hour give or take on either end. This full body approach contributes to Pilates being a major stress reducer both in terms of the physical aspects of it but also the mental component of the practice. You never know, one day you might like to take a master trainer series.
How to Begin Practicing Pilates
If you have never done Pilates or are looking for a new addition to your workout regimen, joining a class as a complete beginner can be intimidating for some people. If this is true for you, begin by doing research on basic core toning moves that are done in Pilates class and, following the instructions, give the various poses a try. Another great way to try Pilates is to purchase or borrow a DVD from your local library. Be sure to select a beginners or basic level DVD so you can build upon a good foundation of the practice.
Use the DVD until you are comfortable with the posture, balance, breathing and the various elements in the video. If you still don’t feel up to joining a class, find another Pilates DVD that will challenge you a bit more and build up your comfort level bit by bit.
In time, you will not only begin to feel better and stronger, but you will see improvements in your posture, strength and overall appearance. You will get that strong and attractive body! Used to improve fitness, Pilates can vastly improve your health and life in many different ways.