Early last month, me and Michael decided to give Pilates a go. We’d talked about it for a while, and then on the 8th December, we pulled out an old Pilates DVD that I’ve had for years and gave it a try. It hasn’t even been 2 months, and I have to say we are both well and truly hooked!
Pilates is a low impact method of exercising that lengthens and stretches all the major muscle groups in the body in a balanced fashion. It is fantastic for flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness. It requires concentration and focus as you work through the movements in a controlled way. There is a strong focus on your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks, which are your main muscles.
As I’ve mentioned earlier this month, I’m undertaking Cathy Zielski’s Move More, Eat Well Jumpstart class. One of the ways I am focusing on moving more is by doing Pilates every second day, and already, I am seeing amazing changes with my body and benefits for doing this, so I wanted to share some of these here, as a way to keep me accountable and motivated.
- Improved flexibility. This is especially true for Michael who has never really been flexible
- Increased muscle strength and tone. I feel stronger, and have noticed my muscles changing shape as they tone up, and I have to say it looks much better!
- Better balance and coordination. I’m uncoordinated and accident prone, and this helps!
- Improved posture
- Decrease in the pain I used to get in my lower back from sitting all day
- Relaxation of your shoulders, neck and upper back
- Increased body awareness. I carry myself better, I’m more aware if something doesn’t quite feel right for my body, I can physically feel my body relax and more
- Stress relief. I noticed I can be in a bad mood when I start, but by concentrating on my body and breathing, I’m always happy afterwards!
- An increase in energy and concentration
- Increases motivation, especially to fuel my body well. No idea how this one works, but I’ve found it to be true for me.
Other health benefits that are meant to occur from regular Pilates sessions include:
- Balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body
- Enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs
- Improved stabilisation of your spine
- Rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances
- Prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
- Increased lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing
- Improved bone density
We have just been doing mat-based Pilates where we use our own body weight, and this works the deeper supporting muscles of the body. The only extra equipment we use is a towel, so it’s definitely something anyone can do! There is a type of Pilates that uses equipment for resistance, but we’re happy to stay with this while we get better at it. We’ve moved on from the advanced workout now, and have been focusing on a gluts workout, which is still kicking my butt! I’ve realised I have very little upper body strength, but it is slowly improving.
*Note: Some of this information is sourced from this site. It recommend seeking medical advice if your pregnant, over 40, have recently had surgery, have any medical conditions or musculoskeletal injuries, have not exercised for a long time or are overweight.