Pilates is a complete exercise method developed by its founder, Joseph Pilates, who dedicated his lifetime to improving physical and mental health.
Pilates focuses on building your body’s core strength and improving your posture through a series of low repetition low impact stretching and conditioning exercises.
By core strength, we mean your back, abdominal and pelvic muscles. Through pilates, you will be able to develop these muscles without adding bulk, increasing your flexibility and agility and at the same time toning your stomach and thigh muscles.
Pilates goes far beyond your core muscles, however, to provide a complete body workout (you will be working muscles you didn’t even know you had!) and help develop an awareness of how your body works. Find out more >
Here are ten reasons why you should try pilates today!
1. Improved posture
Your spine supports the weight of your body and allows your body to move with ease and comfort. That’s the theory anyway. But in practice, hours spent sitting in front of a computer screen or slumped in front of a TV means that the spine’s natural S shape is lost, resulting in back pain and rounded shoulders. Pilates helps to re-align the spine and with that comes better posture.
2. Relief from back pain
As mentioned above, a great deal of lower back pain comes from poor posture and our daily mistreatment of our spines. By re-aligning your spine and improving your posture, lower back pain can often be eliminated entirely.
3. A good night’s sleep
Ask anyone to name three things essential for life and you will be told, water, air and food. Few people will mention sleep and yet it too is essential to life. A disturbing ten million prescriptions for sleeping pills are issued every year in England alone – a figure that gives you some idea of the numbers of people who suffer from insomnia. Pilates can help stretch muscles, releasing tension and pain, and it can also help trigger natural sleep responses.
4. Increase your strength and stamina without adding muscle bulk
Pilates helps increase both your strength and stamina without adding unwanted bulk because it focuses on developing your “core” muscles – muscles found in your abdominal and pelvic regions as well as in your back. By toning and stretching these muscles, and by correcting your posture, your natural strength and stamina will improve in leaps and bounds.
5. Pilates can help prevent osteoporosis
One in two women and one in five men over the age of 50 in the UK will break a bone, mainly because of a bone disorder called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects three million people in the UK every year, with bones (and particularly those of the spine, wrist and hips) becoming thin and weak and susceptible to fractures. By promoting good posture and balance, pilates can actively help you avoid becoming one of those people.
6. A great way to relax and beat stress
Pilates is a gentle form of exercise that literally re-introduces you to your own body. And the better you understand your body and how it works, the easier it will be for you to release tension, relax and beats the stresses and strains of modern life.
7. Help with prevention of incontinence
Stress incontinence is the most common form of incontinence and affects over three million people in the UK. A common cause of this type of incontinence in women is pregnancy, where the pelvic floor muscles can be weakened, but as we get older muscles in the pelvic area can weaken too. Pilates will help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, thereby curing what can be a very distressing problem for sufferers.
8. Improve your balance and co-ordination
Pilates helps improve your balance and co-ordination by realigning your spine and strengthening your “core” muscles. And better balance and co-ordination means fewer injuries – hence pilates growing popularity among professional sports people – from dancers to rugby players.
9. Helps aid recovery after injury – and prevent injury recurring
Because of its low impact nature, pilates is widely recognised as being beneficial to people who are recovering from certain types of injury including whiplash and a wide range of sporting injuries. Indeed, many of the injuries that sports people are afflicted with can be avoided – and pilates can play a big part in ensuring correct body movement and core body strength leads to fewer such injuries.
10. No pain plenty gain!
In most gyms you will hear the mantra “no pain, no gain”, but you won’t hear it repeated in a pilates studio. Pilates is a gentle non-aerobic form of exercise that will tone and strengthen your muscles and transform poor posture without stressing the joints or the heart.
Getting Started With Pilates
The best way to get started with pilates is to join a class and learn the basics from a qualified pilates teacher.
Pilates classes are held up and down the country, either in studios equipped with specialist exercise equipment or in village halls and sports centres where mat work often takes precedence. Our Pilates Studio And Class Directory will point you in the right direction.
Why you are never too old for pilates
As our bodies age we tend to exercise less, and the less exercise we do, the harder it is to start again. But the older we get, the more important exercise becomes to our wellbeing.
Problems associated with poor posture, being overweight and poor muscle tone worsen with age, and knock-on effects such as aches and pains, osteoporosis, poor circulation, insomnia, and lack of energy, can add to health and mobility woes.
The good news is that pilates is a safe form of exercise for all ages and is particularly suitable for people over 50 years of age and who haven’