Even though our body looks like a simple organism from the outside, it is an extremely complex, well-built and intricately arranged mechanism. We are discovering new things about this beautiful biome and yet we are at the tip of the iceberg, with many mysteries hidden below. For the upkeep of this body, we have come up with numerous methods – running, walking, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, core workout, stretches and so on it goes endlessly. Pilates is another popular set of exercises to strengthen the body. This form of exercise has perhaps borrowed from other earlier disciplines of fitness like yoga.
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates from Germany. The main idea behind Pilates is stretching and strengthening of the muscles through a series of controlled movements. It also puts emphasis on breathing, precision of movement, generating power from the core (or center), while being relaxed. It is a form of low-impact exercise that aims to improve postural alignment and flexibility. The exercises are usually done in a specific order, one right after another. The moves may look simple, but they take a lot of precision and control with a strong emphasis on technique. It’s certainly not like doing a bunch of crunches or fast cardio.
A typical class is 45 minutes to an hour long. The exercise difficulty ranges from beginner to advanced. The benefits of Pilates are experienced by all regardless of difficulty levels. After a few weeks of doing Pilates, muscles become strong, sculpted, elongated and flexible. It conditions the whole body, including ankles and feet and enhances joint mobility. Every muscle group is targeted and exercised evenly thereby bringing a toned balance to the musculature. Breathing consciously while keeping the attention on the posture brings the body-mind connection into awareness, which can help calm the mind. After doing Pilates, daily activities and sports can be performed with greater ease, better performance, and with less chance of injury. There is overall improvement in posture and general feeling of wellbeing.
As Pilates is meant for strengthening, toning, and flexibility with a focus on the core muscles, it is important to complement by adding cardio to the exercise plan.
Pilates is a low impact exercise, and works well even for those who are suffering from heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, knee or back pain. The exercises can be specifically tailored to strengthen the muscles which have weakened due to ailment. It is sometimes included in physiotherapy as well. However, consulting a doctor and/or a Pilates instructor before doing so is wise.
Get ready for a 25 minutes Pilates workout with this video!.
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