Lean into the Power of Pilates

Since it was developed almost 100 years ago by Joseph and Clara Pilates, the bodywork program that bears their name is more popular than ever.

Followers are practicing this low-impact, core-focused exercise regimen that can be done with mat exercises as well as with the “reformer” and other specialized devices in a studio. Either way, the goal is to improve flexibility and posture while strengthening muscle.

It’s a pathway to longer, leaner muscles that helps with sports performance as well as everyday functional movement. It’s gentle yet challenging and can be done by anybody including older adults, heavy individuals, those recovering from an injury and others looking for an alternative form of exercise.

It’s not usually considered cardio, but it can aid with weight loss through building muscle and encouraging an overall healthy lifestyle. 

Pilates has many more advantages to offer you, including:

The core is called the “powerhouse” in Pilates’ lingo, which tells you how much attention it gets from Pilates movements like the “roll up,” “the hundred” and the “series of 5.” You’ll be able to crush everything from gardening to kayaking! The benefits extend well beyond your fitness and hobbies to on-the-job tasks, your overall stability and protecting your lower back against future injury and pain.

While it is committed to charging up your core, Pilates doesn’t leave any muscle group behind, elongating and loosening them all while pushing you to test your body’s limits without risking injury. You’ll get a lean, toned- all-over body as a result.

As with any type of physical activity, many who practice it report feeling more positive and energetic after a session. Pilates pushes you to focus on your breath, mind and full body. Be aware of how they function together, promoting better concentration and reducing stress.

Research is linking Pilates to reduced blood pressure for people with hypertension, including older women, obese younger women and middle-aged adults. One 2020 study reported middle- aged hypertensive adults had lower blood pressure for 60 minutes following a Pilates class. Lowering your blood pressure is a crucial step toward improving your heart health.

IMPROVED CIRCULATIONThe continued controlled movement of Pilates promotes the circulation of movement throughout your body to bolster your cardiovascular system as well as your immune system. The improved flexibility that Pilates brings also aids the circulatory system.

Pilates targets asymmetrical muscle development that can be caused by bad posture and promotes body awareness by teaching you to keep your shoulders straight, pull in your navel and keep your spine in alignment. Your weight is distributed the way your body was designed for and good posture relieves stress on your back and joints.

You can try Pilates out in the comfort of your home using online classes. Mat Pilates uses bodyweight to provide the resistance the equipment does in the studio, and you can use weights, foam rollers and other props to simulate the machines used in a formal studio.