Pilates instructors teach exercises to encourage flexibility, improve posture and balance, in order to positively affect overall fitness and well-being.
Which areas of the body does Pilates target?
Pilates works mainly on core muscles which includes the abdominal and spinal areas. Pilates therefore, can be extremely beneficial for people who suffer from lower back pain. Other areas of the body that are strengthened and toned through Pilates include legs, especially the upper thighs, and buttocks.
Pilates has also been useful for people who suffer from arthritis as it helps to keep joints flexible. Because Pilates strengthens the thigh muscles this may be particularly useful in preventing arthritis and knee injuries.
Benefits of Pilates
- Good posture – Pilates will teach you to gain and maintain good posture. The exercises require that your body is always in alignment. This is especially beneficial if you suffer from lower back pain.
- Muscle Tone – The exercises involve the use of muscles that you may not use on a daily basis. After the initial soreness, you’ll find that your muscles will be much more toned. This is especially good for older people and those who are normally quite sedate in their daily life as muscle tone is usually lost with age and inactivity.
- Flat abdominal muscles – Because Pilates focuses on strengthening your core which includes your abdominal muscles, you’ll find that one of the benefits of Pilates is that it will result in a flatter stomach.
- Flexibility – As we age we tend to lose the flexibility we had when we were young. Pilates will restore your flexibility, gently at first of course. After a while though, you’ll be amazed at how much more flexible your body has become. This is especially important for avoiding injuries from falls.
- Improves your balance – Through the mind-body connection which is taught in Pilates you will become much more aware of how your body moves and performs. Therefore, Pilates not only improves your physical balance through correct posture but will also restore your mind-body balance.
- Reduces stress – When doing the exercises, you’ll be totally engrossed and won’t be able to think about all those responsibilities that weigh you down on a day to day basis. You’ll be more focused on your breathing and on the moves that you are making with your body. This is an excellent way to relieve stress.
- Gives you a general sense of well-being – Because Pilates focuses on providing balance between your mind and body it gives you an overall sense of well-being.
Can anyone do Pilates?
It is recommended to check with your health professional if you haven’t exercised for a while, are older or pregnant, or have health problems eg joint or back pain or injury.
Pilates may not be recommended if you have the following conditions:
- Unstable blood pressure.
- A herniated disk
- Severe osteoporosis
- A risk of blood clots