As a young child, Joseph Pilates battled asthma and other conditions that left him sick. He turned to exercise to overcome these ailments and found himself enamored with health that is based on the balance of mind, body, and spirit. As an adult and no longer sick, he set his mission to now heal others. Pilates developed an exercise program using makeshift equipment out of hospital beds and springs to help World War I soldiers. After witnessing the amazing results of his work, he continued to refine his exercise program and the equipment to help rehabilitate dancers in need of care.
Pilates has grown to be a well-recognized form of exercise for the masses. Despite the intimidating equipment (hello Cadillac), the workout is one that everyone can do and should try. The benefits are amazing.
Not sure Pilates is right for you? Take a look at these 3 reasons Pilates is a great workout.
Get Flat Abs
Developing a strong core is the premise of every Pilates exercise. The core includes the deep abdominal muscles and muscles around the spine. Engaging the core through controlled movement tones the abs and strengthens the back.
Find Your Flexibility
While it may not top your list of must-haves, flexibility is a key component to optimal body health. It’s not about putting your foot behind your head, but rather it’s about giving fluidity to the skeletal frame to prevent injury and to avoid stiffness and pain.
Improve Your Performance
Learning control, gaining strength and knowing how to properly move, benefits your other activities. Pilates is a great addition to every workout including, running, yoga, and high intensity interval training (HIIT).
Cate Wilcox recently discovered Pilates at The Belly Studio. After just one session she could feel the difference in her body and is now a devote Pilates enthusiast. “I love Pilates because it brings awareness to my spine in a way yoga could not,” shares Wilcox, “It inspires micro level changes in my physiology that creates new pathways for balance and posture. Pilates brings new life to areas of my body that felt condensed and lost, and teaches me that I am much stronger than I ever thought possible.”
A great way to assess your body’s health, is doing this test we learned at the Pilates Method Alliance Conference:
- Standing on two feet
- Try to sit on the ground without using your hands for assistance
- Once on the ground, try to get back up to standing position, again without using your hands
If you find this difficult, it’s because it can be. Core strength, control and overall flexibility are all needed to accomplish this seemingly simple test. Start Pilates and you will soon be able to do this with ease.
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