Recently I read an article regarding celebrity fitness few years back and it introduced me to a new word “Pilates”. I was curious to know what this is and once I knew all about it, I could not help myself but to join the class. After learning about it, I was amazed by this new form of exercise in few weeks and therefore, I highly recommend this to my family and friends. But before you think of starting, here is everything you need to know about Pilates workout:
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise which works on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength. The Pilate workout was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany. It mainly concentrates on posture, balance and flexibility. Not only this, it also focuses on mind-body connection. Since it includes slow and controlled movements, you are continuously aware of your breath.
It will strengthen Your legs especially thighs and buttocks. It helps people with joint problems.
Anyone can do Pilates workout whether you are beginner or an expert. Modify this exercise as per individual requirements and it will be effective in every way. Starting from slow movements for beginners to rigorous and challenging workout for people who exercise regularly.
Type of Pilates:
- Mat Pilates: These exercises are performed on a mat (thicker than the one you use for Yoga). Basic moves include scissor kicks and dynamic core planks, and such classes are often recommended for beginners. The goal of a mat Pilates class is strengthening the body’s “powerhouse “. you will experience this type of Pilates mostly when you join a group/class for learning Pilates workout. Since no equipment is involved you can practice these moves at home.
Neutral spine, c-curve, a properly engaged core, shoulder and pelvic stability, spinal articulation, full breathing, working with oppositional energy — all are key to Pilates mat work.
- Equipment/Reformer Pilates: Reformer is a bed-like frame with a flat platform on it, called the carriage, which rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame.
One can do variety of exercises on the reformer to promote length, balance, flexibility, and strength. Most of the Pilates reformer exercises includes pushing or pulling the carriage or holding the carriage steady during an exercise as the springs pull it. Versatility is the best thing about reformer.
You can exercise in any position standing, sitting, lying down,pulling the straps, pushing the footbar, perched on the shoulder blocks, perched on the footbar, with additional equipment, upside down, sideways, and all kinds of variations. You can train and strengthen any part of your body with just one piece of equipment.
Benefits of Pilates:
- Good posture – Pilates workout will help you to gain and maintain good posture. You body must be in alignment while doing this exercise. You will get a relief reducing lower back pain.
- Improves your balance – Through the mind-body connection which is main in Pilates you will become much more aware of how your body moves and works. Therefore, Pilates not only improves your physical balance by giving you a correct posture but will also restore your mind-body balance.
- Muscle Tone – This exercise involves precise movement of muscles. Initially you will feel slight soreness, but it will reduce with time. This is especially recommended for old people because muscle tone decreases with age and inactivity.
- Reduces stress – When doing the exercises, you’ll be totally involved and won’t be able to think about all those responsibilities that weigh you down in your daily life. You’ll be more focused on your breathing and body movements. What can be the better way to relieve stress!
- Flat abdominal muscles – Main focus of this exercise is your core. So, you will notice a great change in your abdominal area. Flat stomach is one of the benefits of Pilates.
- Flexibility – We lose our flexibility with age. Pilates workout will help in restoring your flexibility. How much more flexible your body has become will surprise you.
- Gives you a general sense of well-being – By focusing on providing balance between your mind and body it gives you an overall sense of well-being.
- Promotes weight loss: If practiced regularly, it will change your body. Long and leaner look with strong muscles is one of the benefits.
When to expect results?
Pilates workout requires regular practice and lots of concentration. There are over hundreds exercises to learn, each with a name and a purpose to serve. Each exercise has a breathing pattern. There is a general sequence, and transitions from one exercise to the next. Pilates exercises have a distinct progression from beginner to advanced.
Make it a habit. Try doing it thrice a week and you can see results after 4-6 weeks. You may not see abs or a flat stomach in such short time, but you can definitely feel a change in your body. You will have a better sitting/walking posture and increased flexibility. Lesser joint pain and will feel more active.
Since Pilates has a lot to do with your mind, you will see improved concentration and efficiency.
Cost of Pilates Workout ?
Average cost of one Pilate session is around 600 INR. It may vary based on the trainer and number of members per class. Start with group class and then if you like it and want to continue, you can go for personal trainer with equipment Pilates (it will cost you more).
Though it may sound a bit expensive but trust it is worth all your money. This one exercise does everything for you. It is a total body workout with primary focus on the core muscles using the breath which also oxygenates the body.
Tips for beginner:
- No need of gym shoes. you will do it either barefoot or in socks.
- Carry your water bottle.
- Wear leggings to ease your body movements.
- Go to class about 10 minutes early in the first couple weeks to see if there are any new moves, they can demonstrate for you. That way you can transition to different exercises easily.
- Go for morning sessions. It’s nice to get the hard stuff out the way first and have the rest of your day to relax.
- Don’t schedule back to back classes the first two weeks. It’s going to take your body a bit to recover and then you will get used to Pilates workout.
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