We hear a lot about Pilates these days and most sports halls, gyms and even school halls seem to have a Pilates class running at some point during the week, sometimes daily! Either one of your friends goes or does it at home or someone is recommending you should go because “it would be great for your bad back.” But what is Pilates? What are the benefits of Pilates?
What is Pilates?
The NHS UK says of Pilates
“Pilates aims to strengthen the body in an even way, with particular emphasis on core strength to improve general fitness and wellbeing.”
Pilates is not a high impact exercise form but mixed with a bit of cardio it can really deliver fabulous results from weight loss through to toning up those wobbly bits we all wish we didn’t have!
Pilates.com says Pilates is a
“A refreshing mind-body workout” it goes on to say
“By emphasizing proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth, flowing movement, you become acutely in tune with your body. You actually learn how to control its movement.
In Pilates the quality of movement is valued over quantity of repetitions. Proper breathing is essential, and helps you execute movements with maximum power and efficiency. Last but not least, learning to breathe properly can reduce stress.”
There are other benefits too according Saga.
“Pilates can help improve your posture, flexibility, boost your stamina, get more muscle power and reduce your stress levels.”
Pilates has many benefits but as with all exercise regimes the choice is up to you. The important thing from our perspective of course is good bust support. Always invest in a well-fitting, firm support sports bra. Anita recommend the 5521 Light and Firm bra for Yoga and Pilates classes.
It is also very important thing to warm up before you start to exercise .
Healthfitnessrevolution.com tells us
“Stretching is very important for flexibility, range of motion and injury prevention. Incorporating stretching into your daily workouts is a given but including it in your day routine is just as important to health and body functioning as regular exercise. It relaxes your muscles and increases blood flow and nutrients to your cartilage and muscles.”
They also say it “Encourages an optimistic outlook, fortifies posture, enables flexibility, increases stamina, decreases risk of injury, improves energy levels, promotes blood circulation, improves athletic performance, reduces soreness and reduces cholesterol”.
The thing to remember is the fact that stretching decreases the risk of injury. If we don’t stretch, we are at greater risk of muscle strain. The injury is not only going to hurt it means that we are unable to or less likely to work out, which will hinder the results we are looking for. And if we are new to exercise we may give up all together.
The choice of exercise is up to you whether it’s Pilates or something else but remember to warm up, to stretch and to wear a well fitting sports bra suitable for the exercise you are planning to undertake.
Here is an easy 10 minute’s total body stretch workout for you to try at home.