Pilates is a type of strengthening exercise that involves performing various movements either on a mat or using specialized equipment. It’s a challenging workout with plenty of health benefits:
Pilates is a full-body workout, but it primarily strengthens your core, which includes your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles.
One study found that women who did Pilates for 36 weeks strengthened their core muscles by an average of 21%. This 36-week program also helped the participants address muscle imbalances between the sides of their core.
If developing a stronger core is one of your fitness goals, Pilates might be the right workout for you.
Flexibility is one of the keys to overall health and wellness. Inflexible muscles can limit your range of motion, put stress on joints and other structures, and wear down the cartilage surrounding your joints.
If your muscles feel tight, Pilates can help improve your flexibility. It won’t take long to see results, either. One study found that people typically see an improvement in flexibility after practicing Pilates for eight weeks.
Did your mother ever tell you how important it was to stand up straight? It turns out, she was right.
Standing and sitting with proper posture ensures that your muscles and joints are adequately supporting your body’s weight. If you slouch, the weight may shift onto weaker muscles and joints.
Pilates targets the muscles in your core and back that contribute to posture. By improving your posture, Pilates can relieve aches and pains caused by slouching and prevent injuries in the future.
There are psychological benefits to practicing Pilates, too. There’s no time to zone out and think about everything on your to-do list during a Pilates class because this is one tough workout.
Focusing solely on your breathing, the positioning of your body, and the present moment will help you forget about whatever is stressing you out. Studies show that the state of mindfulness that is achieved through Pilates can also alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Practicing Pilates regularly can have a positive effect on your athletic performance, whether you play a sport or love pushing yourself in the gym. Why? It all goes back to the core.
Strong core muscles give you more stability and power, and they can even boost your endurance. You may start to run faster, achieve difficult yoga poses, and lift more weight than usual as a result of a Pilates practice.
Trying any new workout is intimidating, but don’t let this stop you from signing up for a Pilates class. Classes are a great way to try something new while gaining all of the benefits of a group workout, and your fellow classmates will be there to cheer you on.