1. Increase core strength. Your core are all the muscles that make up your abdominal, lumbar, pelvic, and hip region. Think of your core as the foundation to your house- strong core, stable house; weak core, you guessed it, faulty house.
2. Develop strength with long and lean muscles. Don’t let the slender physique of Pilates enthusiasts fool you- Pilates people are strong. Moreover, you derive functional strength from doing Pilates on a consistent basis; meaning, it’s the type of strength that carries over into real life. For example having the arms, back, legs, and core strength to carry groceries up a few flights of stairs!
3. Increase flexibility and range of motion. Joseph H. Pilates has said in so many words that a flexible spine keeps a body youthful. Additionally, having good flexibility and range of motion of your joints will only help maintain the quality and independence in life. Nobody wants to revert back to being unable to tie their own shoes or to raise their arms up to put on a sweater by themselves.
4. Improve balance and stability. Everyone always workout the larger muscles, the so-called prime movers, but how about the secondary muscles? The corner stone of injury prevention is having strong stabilizing muscles that work. Pilates helps create stronger secondary muscles; muscles whose main job is stabilizing the joints of the body to keep them from injury.
5. Improve muscle imbalances. Most people have dominant, tight, and weak muscles that create unbalanced movement patterns. Pilates helps to correct these imbalances through various exercises. Being a Corrective Exercise Specialist (NASM CES), I find incorporating Pilates exercises appropriate when creating a corrective exercise program for my client.
6. Improve posture and alignment. There is a reason why dancers are drawn to Pilates; it’s because Pilates exercise supports the ideal posture and alignment that dancers need and want– long, strong, balanced, symmetrical, and statuesque. Who doesn’t want that?
7. Improve mind and body connection. Joseph H. Pilates created a system of exercise where the emphasis is not on how many repetitions you do, but of the quality on how you do them. The level of concentration that Pilates students need to use in order to execute the exercises creates a deep relationship with their body. Not only do they learn what their body can do, they learn to tell their body what to do– performing with precision and creating oneness between the mind and body. In other words, creating better neuromuscular efficiency.
8. Improve breathing, concentration, and coordination. Through focused deep breaths one can improve the efficiency of the diaphragm, your primary muscle for breathing. Because Pilates exercise cannot be performed mindlessly, ones concentration levels may be improved through continued practice. The ability to concentrate is a skill which needs to be practiced, why not practice it by doing Pilates and get the added benefit of good health! Lastly, Pilates will help in improving ones coordination because of the complexity of certain exercises, using multiple muscles, utilizing multiple joints, and moving in different planes of motion.
9. Stress reduction. Of course exercise in general helps to reduce stress, but because Pilates is therapeutic in nature, it can help in increasing wellness throughout the mind, body, and spirit. The focused breathing can calm the mind, the deep stretching can increase serotonin levels of the body and promote relaxation of the golgi tendons of the body promoting tension relief. The concentration and mind and body connection can help one become more present, giving reprieve to the minds incessant thinking.
10. Cross-training benefits. Pilates is the perfect complement to other functional training modalities such as TRX, kettle-bell Training, weight training, and CrossFit. Additionally, it is also a great match for any group exercise cardio enthusiast, from helping to stretch the cyclist to improving the core strength for the kick- boxer.
TNT (Till Next Tuesday =)
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