Pilates. It’s amazing. Pilates is a form of exercise that can be found in every gym and studio around the United States, but do you know exactly what it is, or how it can change your body? I have been teaching Pilates for just about two decades now, and my appreciation for it still grows each day. I have a lot of conversations with new students, clients, and people I meet out and about. Something I hear a lot of is “I can’t do Pilates, I’m not flexible.” or “I need to do some Pilates, I need a stretch.” While Pilates does have an element of flexibility work, it’s focus is most definitely on strength in a big way.
Pilates is a method of exercise that focuses on strengthening the deeper core muscles of the body. Here is what this means for you.
- Muscle toning, and definition. Pilates is hard. It takes focus, commitment, and plain old hard work. With the concept of quality movement over quantity of movement, you can’t beat the strength building benefits of Pilates. Think, toned, lean, strong abs. Nothing else comes close.
- Improves posture and movement patterns. There is no slouching in Pilates. We stand tall, sit tall, and move with purpose and control at all times. Look in the mirror as you slouch, and then stand tall with your shoulders down and back, chest lifted, and navel drawn in. How would you prefer to carry yourself, and present yourself to the world?
- Rehabs back pain and injuries. Pilates was develop by a man named Joseph Pilates during World War One in England. Pilates was developed to rehab and reverse injuries, chronic pain, and postural deviations. Pilates was brought to the United States in the early 1920’s, and was used to rehab injured ballet dancers in New York. By strengthening the deeper core muscles of the body, and training the body to move properly, we can reverse damage, and protect ourselves from future injury.
- Improves athletic performance. In Pilates, we literally work every. single. muscle. in the entire body. We work many muscle groups together at the same time, and always work from the ‘center’, recognizing that a strong center is the foundation of a strong body. This drastically improves stability, agility, power and stamina.
- Weight loss. By moving and challenging the entire body, we are burning calories, and building muscle, creating an opportunity for weight loss.
- Stress and anxiety release. Pilates is a mind/body exercise. We place focus on breathe paired with precision movement. Exercise in general is an amazing stress reduction tool. The added breathe and focus of Pilates places it at the top of the list for stress reduction benefits.
- Longer, leaner, stronger body. Pilates builds muscle without “bulking”, and encourages proper posture and movement. This creates long, strong, beautiful bodies that move with grace and purpose.
Pilates is the only method of exercise that WILL change your body, without question. You can be young or old, in shape or out of shape, man or woman, healthy or injured, Pilates will meet you where you are and transform your body noticeably in about 8 weeks of practice. Now, I don’t mean that anyone will start doing Pilates, and instantly become a swimsuit model. I do mean that you will feel different, move different, carry yourself different, look different, and be capable of more than you could ever imagine.
The only way to find out is to try!