Pilates is a wonderful exercise to do if you want to strengthen your body while also becoming more flexible. A lot of Pilates is done on the ground. Mat work, as it’s called, helps you strengthen your core muscles and does so in a way that is easy on your back. There are many benefits of Pilates, some of which you can guess and others which might not be so immediately apparent when you begin.
Pilates: Who is It For?
Pilates is a popular exercise for dancers and elite athletes, but other people shouldn’t be scared away because of that.
It’s accessible to all activity levels and there is plenty of room for modifications until you build up more strength. This is one of the main benefits of Pilates – the fact anyone can take it up.
People without prior experience in Pilates shouldn’t have a problem following along in a class because they are led by experienced instructors. Each move is demonstrated and called out by the person leading the class.
Importance of Alignment
Sometimes the instructors even come around to keep students and give hands on advice about the benefits of Pilates and ensuring you’re doing it right. Having proper alignment in Pilates is important and having someone to assist you in that is super helpful. Speaking of alignment, Pilates is fantastic for improving posture. A lot of Pilates work focuses on making your abdominal and back muscles stronger. The stronger those muscles are, the easier it will be to stand correctly.
Pilates for Beginners DVD Set, on Amazon
If you slouch over a desk at work all day or naturally hunch your back, Pilates might be worth a try as a way to combat your current habits. One of the benefits of Pilates is that it can improve your posture without you thinking about it. You could be surprised at the different in your posture after doing just a few classes. Posture isn’t the only benefit of Pilates. The exercise routine has also been shown to improve circulation and range of motion as well as lowering stress levels. Stress levels go down after a Pilates class because the exercise focuses on breathing techniques along with the movements.
Since Pilates is a low impact exercise there is also less risk of injury than with higher impact exercises and extreme sports – another of the benefits of Pilates.
Some Pilates classes involve using a Pilates machine. With all the pulleys and cables these kinds of classes can be intimidating at first glance.
Stott Pilates Mat, on Amazon
Don’t be worried about the machines though. They are ultimately there to help you gain even more from your time doing Pilates. If you aren’t ready for a machine class just yet then a mat class still gives you great benefits.
You can even practice mat Pilates at home with the aid of books, DVDs, or online videos. Online Pilates videos are becoming especially popular because of the variety of class atmospheres available.
You can find relaxing classes, advanced classes, and even classes set to Top 40 music to keep the energy high and the workouts fun. Whether you choose a machine or mat experience, taking it up will prove there are many benefits of Pilates which can make you look and feel like a new you.