What Is Pilates?

You’ve probably heard of it, watched your friends join in classes, or observed those “weird” machines at the gym… but what actually is Pilates?

If you’ve always been curious about Pilates, its benefits and how to get into it, keep on reading!

The key things to know about the exercise are its incredible effects on the core, posture, and flexibility. Described as a low-impact exercise aiming to strengthen muscles while also improving the latter, Pilates moves tend to target the core, however, the exercises work other areas of the body as well. A full-body workout that anyone, at any age and physical ability, can get involved in.

Pilates has become incredibly popular in recent years, but its origins actually date back to the 20thcentury!

5 Reasons to Get into Pilates 

Much like any form of exercise, Pilates will suit some and not others. Some prefer group exercises, which have their own multitude of benefits, and for which Pilates is great. Others prefer one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer.

However, unlike many types of exercise and what sets it apart: Pilates is incredibly accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels. Essentially being a combination of stretching, toning and holding exercises (controlling your muscles), every set of moves is doable. And as in many gym classes, instructors will adjust the difficulty levels of individual techniques to match attendees’ abilities and strength.

So, that’s you convinced to give it a go… let’s have a look at the benefits you’ll get from the workout!

Group Exercise

1: An Excellent Way to Build Up Your Core Muscles

Pilates is an ideal exercise for those wanting to build up their core strength. The nature of the workout, made up of a succession of positions and movements, makes it easy to gradually build up your strength over a series of weeks or months.

And with regular practice, you’ll see results and improvements in no time at all.

Being mostly focused on the body’s core muscles, that is, the lower back, abdomen, hip, and pelvic muscles, Pilates is a great exercise for getting those killer abs. This is also great for improving posture, as abs and lower back muscles have a large role to play in supporting the back in general.

Another positive offshoot of developing your core strength with Pilates is the effect it will have on your ability to conduct everyday tasks. No more going back for the shopping bags!

Equipment

2: A Solution to Back Pain

Incorporating Pilates into your life and engaging in regular practise can have a positive effect on any back pain you may have. Stretching out your back, coupled with strengthening your lower back and your core muscles, which support your lower back, can help to avoid further injury and reduce tension in this part of your body.

Especially in this era of the 9-5 job, many of us suffer from daily back pain. Pilates’ combination of strength training and stretching will hopefully have a positive outcome on this discomfort.

For those who regularly suffer from back pain, contact our personal training team at Beckwith Health Club for personalised exercises targetting the weaknesses in your back. Gradually strengthening these will get you back on track! Or, if you prefer, check out the specialised treatments we have to offer to help reduce any pain or tension from exercise.

Back Pain

3: Enjoy the Benefits of a Full-Body Workout 

Pilates introduces you to a set series of positions throughout the class. It consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. These will help to emphasise proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance.

Yet while it is true that Pilates is an excellent workout for developing abs and core strength, it is a common misconception that this is the only area Pilates targets.

Pilates is, in fact, a full-body workout. Whether mat-based or reformer, Pilates gets the whole body moving, stretching, and toning up. What’s more, the nature of the exercise, in which each position must be held with control for a certain period of time before moving onto the next, out of necessity engages full-body muscles.

So, not only will you get a great set of abs from the exercise, your whole body will benefit, as well!

4: Connect with Your Breath 

Much like yoga, and drawing influence from it, Pilates emphasises the use of the breath during practice. One of the worst things to do in these classes is to hold your breath while trying to achieve a position.

Instead, focus on the breath. The instructor will guide you as to when to breathe in and out. Doing this alongside the movements will make them much more fluid and achievable. Overall, you will get more out of the exercise from doing this.

Moreover, this is a great time and excuse to increase your mindfulness. Use the class to focus on your body, your breath, and your movements. This near-meditative exercise will have a very positive effect on your mental well-being as well as your physical one.

Downward Dog

5: Avoid Future Injury Through Regular Practice 

As with any stretching, regular Pilates practise will increase your flexibility. This is essential in avoiding sporting injuries and also in preventing injuries during the class.

As Pilates works out your full body, your full body also develops increased flexibility. This means you are less likely to over-develop one muscle group. This can often be the case with exercises focusing on a specific activity or set of movements. By avoiding this situation, your entire body avoids injury.

stretch

Join in Today at Beckwith Health Club!

If any of the above reasons appeal to you, consider signing up for your first Pilates class at Beckwith Health Club. Be sure to let your instructor know you are a beginner. They will offer you modifications for some of the more advanced positions.

You can view Beckwith Health Club’s full list of classes here, and our class timetable here.

For any questions about Pilates, scheduling, or anything at all, please do get in touch. Contact us by calling 01423 522177 or via our Facebook and Twitter pages.