It might seem that Pilates only came on the fitness scene recently, but did you know that it was first developed way back in the 1920s by a man called Joseph Pilates? He came up with a series of 34 exercises that he called “Contrology”. These are non-aerobic exercises that aim to improve flexibility, strength, the core muscles of the body, posture and coordination. In the words of Joseph Pilates, “The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning develops the body uniformly, corrects posture, restores vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit.”
Not convinced? Here’s a look at some of the key benefits that this form of exercise offers:
1. Stress Relief
While most might not think of this as a primary benefit of Pilates, this is perhaps one of the most pressing needs of contemporary life. Just one hour of Pilates exercise and you can unwind your body and your mind. Whether you do it first thing in the morning or after a difficult day, it doesn’t tax the body too much, it takes only an hour and is a fun way to get an endorphin high and feel good.
2. Say Goodbye to Pain
Since the exercises focus on the core muscles, such as the back, abdomen, thighs, hips, etc., this is a get way to strengthen the body and get rid of lower back pain. In fact, Joseph Pilates was a German gymnast and all too familiar with pains and ills of poor posture. He intended these exercises to create a better alignment of the spine, thereby not only improve posture but also reduce bodily aches and pains.
3. Improve Balance & Flexibility
The exercises are focused on realigning muscles through specific stretches. This in turn helps correct imbalances in the body. With most of us spending our working hours hunched in front of a computer, Pilates exercises are extremely beneficial as they improve core strength and correct posture and balance. In addition, almost all the exercises focus on enhancing flexibility, concentrating on the large muscle groups, stretching and lengthening them.
4. Increase Energy Levels
One of the key principles in this form of exercise is a focus on breathing. And when you breathe efficiently and to full lung capacity, the body gains more oxygen, which combines with glucose to release energy. The end result is that you not only look better, you feel a lot better too.
Of course, it also helps that Pilates gives you fabulous arms with all that stretching, as well as lean, toned leg muscles. If you’ve yet to discover what Pilates can do for you then try a group class with a free trial – we’re sure you’ll become a fan.