Pilates is a system of exercise that incorporates stretching and strengthening exercises that help you to realign your body and balance out any weak or tight muscles that you may have. A good Pilates workout is structured strategically to address posture, core activation, glute activation and flexibility. It is very much in line with exercise science principles, which is why you more often than not, find allied health professionals advocating for it!
Here is a little summary of what Pilates can do for your body:
1. Better your body awareness and posture
It will first and foremost, make you much more aware of your body! What I mean by that is, you will start to notice your own postural habits including the way you stand, sit, walk, sleep. Having this awareness of your posture means that you are more likely to self-correct your own posture and begin the process of repairing any damage that poor posture has caused on your body. Regular and consistent Pilates can then help to balance out your posture by strengthening the postural muscles in your body that are weak and stretching out the postural muscles in your body that are tight.
2. Improve muscle tone
Pilates is centred around correct spinal and pelvic placement, correct breathing and correct engagement of your core stabilising muscles. It is super common for people who are new to Pilates to say that they can now feel muscles that they did not know existed! There is a lot of truth behind this...
3. Increase mobility and flexibility
In Pilates, flexibility is not all about holding stretches for a long time. Pilates addresses the body as a whole. For example, if you have super tight hips, stretching them alone will not necessarily fix your tight hips. You may also need to strengthen your glutes and stretch out your inner thighs. Pilates takes a closer look at the body and addresses any issues with mobility and flexibility with a whole body approach.
4. Promote balance, physically and mentally
Pilates requires you to focus intently on what you are doing! A typical Pilates class involves a lot of concentration and breathing techniques which can have a calming effect on your body.
Mindfulness is a huge aspect of Pilates. You have to be extremely mindful of your movements or you will not engage the right muscles. This mindful movement practice is a form of meditation, and can have significant positive benefits for your mental health!
A client once said to me, "Wow – I just forgot about all of my problems for an hour because I had to concentrate so much."
So there you have it - just a few of the things that Pilates can do for YOUR body! The key to achieving all of these things, however, is consistency! If you are enjoying Pilates and you feel good afterwards, I highly suggest attending classes 2-3 times/week.
Remember: consistency is key.
You can find out more about Duo Pilates here.