The benefits of Pilates are numerous. When regularly undertaken, the most noticeable physical change is an improvement in muscle tone and definition. Less evident to the eye, but equally as important, are the gains in strength, balance, and flexibility that Pilates brings. This makes it an excellent choice for people recovering from injury, and older folk looking for a gentle, low-impact form of exercise that will help them stay active.
Many people who regularly do Pilates have stated that they now have far more energy. They also claim to sleep more soundly and say that they just feel “better” all around.
Anyone can experience the benefits of Pilates, even those who don’t consider themselves to be athletic. And, with equipment requirements to start being quite modest, you won’t need to spend a lot of money.
Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of Pilates.
Benefits of Pilates for the Body
A lot of exercise routines focus on one or two areas of the body only. Pilates, on the other hand, exercises every part of the body. When performing exercises that focus on the core, other muscles will also be worked due to the positioning required to execute the moves. An efficient form of exercise, a 30-minute Pilates routine will work your entire body.
Unlike many exercises that require some degree of strength and fitness, anyone can do Pilates. Gentle, low-impact and with an extensive variety of moves to choose from, you should have no trouble finding a routine that will work for you and suit your needs.
Short Video Covering Some of the Benefits of Pilates
Benefits of Pilates for Strength
One of the main advantages of Pilates, particularly for women, is that it enables us to gain strength without bulking up. With Pilates, your muscles won’t become over-developed. Instead, they will take on a toned, long and lean appearance, giving you the strength you desire without making you look like a bodybuilder.
Along with toning your body, Pilates will impart a sense of well-being and enhance your so-called “functional fitness,” making everyday tasks a lot easier to manage.
The main area of the body strengthened by regular Pilates’ workouts is the core – the abdomen, back, and pelvic region. With a stronger core, you will have better posture, increased flexibility, and you will be far less likely to suffer back problems. These potential benefits are one of the reasons Pilates is so popular with older folk. For people with existing back conditions, Pilates can often be the answer to improving or even eliminating the problem.
Good posture is not solely due to the condition of your back, though the alignment of your spine can play a role in this. If your core is weak, you’re going to have a more difficult time sitting and standing straight. Additionally, a strong midsection will help you to move more fluidly, take longer, smoother strides, and move “with grace.”
Having a strong core also helps flexibility. People tend to be of the opinion that you have to be flexible to do Pilates, but the fact of the matter is, doing Pilates exercises will make you more flexible.
Pilates Benefits for the Mind and Soul
Pilates benefits the mind as well as the body. People who practice it regularly say they have an inner peace that was lacking prior taking it up and that they feel more energized. This is due to the movements releasing muscle tension and boosting endorphin levels.
The energy expended during a workout can result in a better night’s sleep too. And because focus is required while performing the moves, it offers a distraction from worries and problems that may be weighing us down, giving us an opportunity to clear our mind and feel totally refreshed.
Other Pilates benefits for the mind that will be apparent after regular workouts include a natural lifting of mood and the increase in confidence that comes from looking good. Your thinking will be clearer, and you will feel lighter and have more energy, too.
Will I need any Special Pilates Equipment?
You will be able to do simple workouts without buying any equipment. However, Pilates benefits can be increased with various accessories. For example, a resistance band, a Pilates Circle, and a Pilates Ball. The bare minimum I’d recommend you purchase is some comfortable workout gear and a mat to make you workouts more comfortable. You will also need a Pilates DVD or book containing workouts. If you don’t want to purchase a book or a DVD, plenty of sites offer free Pilates workouts, including youtube.
There is other Pilates equipment you may later wish to buy, but at this point, you won’t need it.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Pilates
While the positive benefits of Pilates for the body will take a little longer to become apparent, Pilates benefits for the mind and the soul will be felt from your first session in increased clarity, focus, calmness and a sense of well-being.
If you do Pilates regularly, in a short period of time you will be rewarded with toned muscles, improved balance and co-ordination, increased strength and a higher degree of flexibility.
If you’re looking for a kit to get you started, one I can recommend that has great reviews is the Stott Pilates Fitness Circle Lite Power Pack. (Click the link to the left to read a review.)
I hope you found this article on the benefits of Pilates helpful and that it encourages you to give it a try. It is one of the easiest yet most beneficial forms of exercise one can do. It was the first exercise I ever did, other than walking. I loved it from day one, and I continue to love it to this day.