What Can Pilates Do for You?Posted: Dec 20 in Getting Active, Lifestyle by Craig Primack MD FACP
Is it time to give your exercise routine a shot in the arm? If you’ve been following the same structured program so long that you can anticipate the next moves long before you work through the current ones, you may be overdue for a change. Fitness experts encourage variety if you want to continue to improve your fitness level.
One of the common areas of the body overlooked in many exercise programs is basic core strength. One of the most effective ways to build core strength is with Pilates. Much like yoga, Pilates emphasizes a strong connection between the mind and the body, but with an intense focus on abdominal and pelvis efforts. If you’re ready for the next step in your fitness program, consider what Pilates can do for you.
- Pilates targets abdominal and pelvic muscles more intensely than nearly any other exercise. The exercises are specific, directed and demanding, with the goal being to hold various plank movements for as long as possible. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel like an instant Pilates master. Ease into a program and build strength and endurance as you go.
- While Pilates is working to build a strong core, it also works to strengthen your back. A strong core and a strong back is the recipe for overall fitness. Many people suffering from lower back pain find more relief from their Pilates workout than from medical intervention.
- Pilates is a powerhouse workout that is gentle on your joints. The movements are controlled and never jerky, minimizing the risk of joint damage.
- Pilates can be a low-cost fitness program. Your only necessary piece of equipment is your body. All you need to start is a book or DVD to learn the basic positions. You can add a trainer or formal class if you want to increase your knowledge of the program or share the experience with others. You can include weights, bands or other equipment when, and if, you improve.
- Pilates requires concentration and a strong mind. In this regard, it is a form of meditation, forcing you to focus your body and your breathing on the movements of your body. The hassles of the day are put aside while you work out.
- The strong core you gain from Pilates will improve your performance in any other sport or activity you choose to pursue. Every muscle group will benefit from your stronger core.
- Pilates will give you improved flexibility. The concentrated movements of Pilates will lengthen your muscles and expand your body’s range of motion.
- Pilates requires concentration and concentration builds brainpower. Research continues into how Pilates might benefit people with degenerative brain conditions and cognitive issues.
- Pilates will improve your sense of well-being as it improves your body awareness. A strong body and a strong mind go hand in hand.
- You will benefit from Pilates regardless of the amount of time you have to devote to it. Early on, a few minutes may be all you can withstand. That’s okay. As you gain strength you will more than likely want to increase your commitment to the program.
Pilates is a fitness program that can be applicable to anyone. You don’t have to be a certain size, a certain age or a certain physical type to benefit. All you need is the desire to begin. From there, the only way to go is up.