Summer time: bikinis, board shorts, muscle tees, short shorts, oh my! Let’s be honest, most people do not just go to the gym to go to the gym. People tend to partake in certain exercises and fitness routines for the sole reason that their bodies will benefit (appearance wise) from them in one way or another. We all want a toned body with strong core muscles and washboard abdominal muscles for a long, lean, and healthy appearance. All of these things can be hard to achieve, especially on your own! For all of our agility and mobility needs; what better a person to consult than Joseph Pilates! Mr. Pilates invented Pilates back in the 1920s for the purpose of rehabilitating people with injuries to strengthen their bodies. So, here is your chance to get in on this exciting and rewarding exercise method. Get out a comfortable workout mat and have a seat while we go over all of Pilates’ benefits!
Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself!
Before we go over the benefits that you and your body will reap from doing Pilates, make sure that you keep this in mind: be realistic. There is no one magic exercise program that is going to give you immediate results. The important thing to remember when starting any exercise routine with the hope of achieving results is to keep at it! Be persistent and committed, and you will eventually see changes. When it comes to Pilates, specifically, leave about three months room to get your body used to the routine before you start looking for any changes. Now that that is out of the way, let’s see what you can get from this exercise that is a favorite among fitness buffs!
The Benefits of Pilates
- Long and lean: As you start doing Pilates, you will notice your muscles becoming longer and leaner. This is unlike other more traditional exercise programs, which tend to bulk you up more than stretch you out. Pilates incorporates a lot of flexibility, and in turn, you will be extending and stretching out your limbs. Who said that you stop growing in your twenties?
- Posture: As you do Pilates, you will notice that you spine will become stronger and straighten. Of course, this is going to be incorporated in the way that you carry yourself. You will notice that you sit and stand straighter and more erect. You have probably heard teachers telling students to, “Sit up straight!” in the classroom, and who knows; they may have had Pilates on their minds. Additionally, your posture will appear more elegant as your limbs will feel more elongated.
- Butt Firmness: Ah, the good old rump. If you have been doing up to one hundred squats a day trying to get the perfect bottom, you can choose to forgo those squats because most of the exercises in Pilates will work out your butt as well! How will it change? Well, you can look forward to your bottom becoming more firm and perhaps a bit smaller and toned. However, if you have a flat bottom, as many of us do (no shame!), then you can expect it to add a little form. Remember to eat healthy, too!
- Tummy Tone: Regardless if you are a man or a woman, wanting a flatter tummy is almost always on your wish-list when choosing certain exercise routines or talking to a trainer. Luckily, Pilates is going to help pull your stomach inwards. Many of the exercises in Pilates work to bring your belly button in towards your spine. Do not forget to practice this also when you are going about your normal routine. Simply remembering to keep your abdominal muscles pulled in will help you appear leaner and toned in the belly area.
- Back Pain: Pilates was invented for rehabilitation, and it is no surprise that it will help relieve any pain that you might have in your back as well. If you have back pain caused from anything from a car crash to bad posture, Pilates will work to correct the imbalances that are attributing to your sore body.
- Pain Prevention: Additionally, Pilates will help strengthen certain muscles, namely in your back, to prevent any further pain or injuries by stretching your back muscles. You may not know this, but back muscles have a lot to do with overall injury. If you have a strong back, you are less likely to have weak abdominal or butt muscles as well!
- Flexibility: There is no doubt that you will be feeling more like a string bean and less like a chop stick after doing Pilates for awhile. Pilates works to stretch your muscles and joints in ways that you never thought possible. Of course, however, do not expect yourself to be able to twist in all sorts of ways – even a person completely proficient in Pilates will have their limitations. Pilates is simply meant for helping you reach your potential in terms of extension.
- Balance: Pilates promotes and helps you develop a strong central core. This will help in your coordination and balance. For instance, gymnasts know that in order to keep their balance for certain routines, they need to squeeze their bottom and pull in their abdominal muscles. Pilates will help strengthen these muscles so that you can learn how to use your balancing and coordination muscles to your benefit.
- Overall Awareness: Anytime you workout or do an exercise for awhile, you will notice that you are more aware of certain muscles that may have been “asleep” during the day if you are generally sedentary. Pilates puts you in touch with your muscles and body parts so that you develop a stronger overall awareness of their natural habits.
- Strength: Any workout routine or exercise regime is generally aimed at improving your physical strength, and Pilates is no different. Pilates is so useful because it incorporates into its routines the muscles and body parts that you use on an everyday, possibly hourly, basis. As we mentioned before, if you are recovering from an injury or illness, Pilates is going to be extremely beneficial and physically rewarding for your body as well.
Tips for Practicing Pilates
We know you are anxious to start your workout to reap all of these wonderful benefits! However, as begin your Pilates regime, be sure to keep these tips in mind for a successful and smooth workout:
- Wear something comfortable for good circulation
- Be sure to have some kind of mat, preferably a yoga mat, to keep you comfortable – as Pilates exercises are generally done on the floor.
- Find a certified Pilates instructor to begin your courses, or enroll in a Pilates class at your local gym.
- If you are trying to lose weight, remember that you need to incorporate a healthy and calorie-effective diet for your body. Pilates is a great way to start, but diet is essential too!
- Practice in the comfort of your own home as well. You may have better concentration and peace in your own personal space.
Thank you Mr. Pilates!
Remember: in the words of Mr. Joseph Pilates: “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young!” If you continue to do Pilates regularly, you will see all of these components applied to things that you do in your daily life. As such, you will realize that Pilates is beneficial for your overall health, daily routine and individual well-being. Be sure to check out all of the Pilates-related courses that Udemy offers, and you will be on your way to a strong, flexible, and toned body!