Health and Fitness: Pilates Exercise
If you are looking for a specialized exercise routine, you may want to consider Pilates. Many people are turning to Pilates to meet their physical fitness and weight loss concerns as part of a daily exercise routine. However, the benefits of Pilates are unique to the Pilates method, and can target emotional as well as physical stresses such as regular back and muscle aches as well as posture alignment. It also has the added benefit providing slower low-impact Pilates exercises that may be ideal for individuals looking for a less stressful way to exercise.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is an exercise program that is designed to promote both mental and physical health by incorporating breathing techniques and body awareness with focused stretching exercises and toning exercises to improve muscular strength, flexibility, and overall physical fitness.
Pilates was originally developed by Joseph Pilates in the early twentieth century, who created over 100 exercises partially based on yoga techniques. Stott Pilates is another type of exercise method that is based on traditional Pilates, but incorporates new movements based on professional dancing and rehabilitation exercises, which dancers and athletes have been using for years to improve flexibility and prevent injury.
Both types of Pilates workout methods aim to improve the body’s core muscles such as the abdominal and back muscles in order to improve the body’s overall functioning on a daily basis.
Types of Pilates Exercise
There are two major types of Pilates exercise groups: Pilates mat exercises and those requiring Pilates exercise equipment.
Pilates mat exercises are the most popular types of Pilates exercises practiced in Pilates classes at a local fitness, exercise, and Pilates studio. These generally include exercises performed while lying on the back, side, or stomach or else in kneeling or sitting positions. These exercises rely on the weight of your own body for resistance. However, by adding Pilates equipment such as a Pilates ball or Pilates ring, you can increase weight resistance for a more challenging exercise.
Reformer exercises are those that use specialized Pilates fitness equipment. A fitness machine called a Reformer is designed to provide individuals with the same type of benefits as Pilates mat exercises, and can usually be found at a Pilates studio, or be purchased for Pilates at home. Reformer Pilates exercises use a foot press and pulleys to provide weight resistance, and are usually used to supplement Pilates mat exercises.
The Benefits of Pilates
Because the Pilates method provides slow, low-impact exercise routines, it can be an ideal choice for pregnant women or women who are looking to tone their bodies after pregnancy. Pilates is also commonly recommended for individuals recovering from injury, as well as senior citizens and children over the age of 12. In general, however, individuals with these specific needs should consult a health care professional before beginning exercise.
Some of the benefits of Pilates exercise include the following:
- Developing a strong core. Pilates exercises target the abdominal muscles and the muscles surrounding the spine in order to strengthen the body’s center
- Building muscle tone and strength. Pilates allows you to build strength by elongating the muscles and improving flexibility in order to develop muscle tone while maintaining a lean appearance
- Improved mental health and stress reduction. A combination of breathing exercises, spinal and pelvic alignment, and smooth, flowing movement encourages body awareness while promoting relaxation. Pilates also improves lung capacity while improving circulation
- Improved posture, relieve backaches, and prevent injury. The Pilates method is designed to balance the overall muscle strength and align the muscles of the body instead of focusing on one particular area. Muscle imbalance is one of the main causes of backaches and makes an individual more susceptible to injury. Proper muscle alignment and posture can prevent backaches and muscle injury
- Safe and Flexible. A Pilates exercise program can range from a beginners level to advanced, allowing individuals to work at their own pace for a safe beginning that can lead to a more challenging routine