It is quite likely that Joseph Pilates never imagined how popular his exercise method would become with more and more people taking it up every year, hooked on the great benefits they get from practicing Pilates. Once considered the best-kept workout secret, Pilates is now a mainstream exercise practiced by around 10 million Americans that promises to exercise not only your body but your mind and spirit too.
Joseph Pilates was a self-defense instructor, whose training focused on strength and control. Today’s Pilates techniques also focus on building strength and control in the body, using the body’s “core” and breathing techniques.
Here are the 9 most powerful benefits you’ll get from practicing Pilates
A strong core = flat stomach and pain-free back
The core is the center of your body, the abdominal muscles near your spine. Pilates focuses on strengthening this core.
The result? A rock-hard flat stomach and no more backache. Your body will feel more centered, strong and balanced.
Long, lean muscles to rival any athlete
Unlike weightlifting, which can bulk out your muscles, Pilates exercises help sculpt long, lean muscles.
There’s also far less risk of injury. Along with strengthening your muscles and improving their elasticity, you are creating a lithe body shape rather than bulging muscles.
You become a better mover
Pilates uses smooth movements, so you actually train your body to move more effectively and in a way that won’t cause injury or strain. It helps you understand your body more and is great for your posture.
Many athletes and sports professionals now incorporate Pilates into their training routines for these reasons.
An all-body workout
Many types of exercise just focus on one part of the body, so you can end up exercising the same muscles time and time again.
Pilates is different. It gives you an all-body workout so no muscles are neglected or overworked.
Once again, balance is the key. Pilates conditions your whole body and prevents injury.
This is an important benefit. Who hasn’t heard how a friend or acquaintance pulled their back lifting weights or damaged their knee during jogging or soccer?
Pilates is gentle on your body as most of the exercises are done seated or reclining or lying down, so there is no danger of jarring your body. That makes it great for people recuperating from sports injuries.
Pilates is an exercise that grows with you. You start out gently and build up from there so it becomes more and more challenging as you go along.
But this is no pushover exercise practice! It will still challenge you but as it caters to all levels, you can start with beginners’ Pilates and work your way up to more advanced techniques.
It never gets dull
Because Pilates is so flexible and you can try out new techniques as you progress, it never gets dull as some exercise routines can. There is always something to learn or try!
It relaxes and soothes your mind too
The emphasis on correct breathing and strengthening the core and posture means a lot of your physical stress disappears, and it also means that your mind becomes more stress-free too.
Focusing on breathing calms the mind and helps you experience the here and now rather than brood over worries.
It works fast
Some types of training can take a while before you see the effects. Not so with Pilates.
All it takes is three 20-minute sessions a week and within just a few weeks you’ll notice that you feel better and look trimmer. Get ready for a lot of compliments!
All in all, Pilates is a great way to release stress from your mind and body, and also refresh your spirit. You’ll not only feel great, but you’ll also look amazing.