Whether you love it or hate it, the benefits of Pilates are hard to ignore. If you’re not into Pilates yet, here are a few reasons you should make the jump and give it a try.
Researchers have presented us with the science behind Pilates, and Hollywood stars have shown us the results. It might make you shed buckets of sweat and shake like never before, but your relationship with your body will reach new highs.
You Develop Longer and Leaner Muscles All over Your Body
Unlike weight training or CrossFit, Pilates entails the use of all your muscles at the same time. So rather than isolating a muscle group and working it until it becomes bulky, you use every part of your body to execute each exercise.
It’s a much more complex workout than what you usually do at the gym. This becomes even clearer when you learn the six Pilates principles:
That’s why it’s hard to spot people doing Pilates while wearing headphones and blasting energetic music. Distractions are not welcomed.
From your biceps to your calves, every part of your body has a role in every exercise, with your core doing most of the heavy work. This leads to significant improvement in functionality and the development of a leaner physique. It’s tough, but it’s certainly worth it.
There Are No Prerequisites
The good thing about this activity is that it can be easily tailored to anyone’s needs.
Whether you’re an athlete, a model, or someone looking to try something new, Pilates can help you achieve any goal you might have. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 65, very active or not at all; you can rest assured that you’ll find a class suitable for your standards.
Though it’s most popular among women, Pilates benefits men just as much. Don’t believe those who say it’s easy—your body would disagree!
It Improves Athletic Performance
As surprising as it might seem, there are a lot of professional athletes who do Pilates regularly because of the wide range of benefits it brings them.
When you work out every muscle group and the surrounding connective tissues, your joints gain better protection as well as improved mobility. This leads to injury prevention, which is one of the major goals in competitive sports.
Your core strength also multiples, aiding in the performance of many other activities, such as running, golfing, lifting, and even yoga. A strong core is a key to overall movement improvement.
It also helps with the psychological aspect of sports, which require focus, confidence and a sense of control, all elements essential for practicing Pilates correctly.
However, it’s not just beneficial for professionals. Even if you do sports as a hobby or not at all, you will notice a big improvement in your everyday performance within very little time.
It Gives Your Brain A Boost
A recent study found a significant increase in the level of neural activity in the brains of participants following a 10-week Pilates training period.
This suggests great potential for using Pilates to improve brain function, and even to treat degenerative neural diseases and cognitive dysfunctions.
Pilates requires great focus and awareness to perform the exercises correctly. You train your body and your mind to work together and execute every movement efficiently, with full control. This skill can be transferred to many other activities.
Less Stress, More Energy
Though it might sound contradictory, a Pilates workout can make you feel energized throughout the day.
This is because both your breathing and your blood circulation improve, carrying more oxygen to the brain and helping it release more endorphins (the feel-good chemicals). Consequently, your stress level goes down and you get to enjoy a better night’s sleep.
You Improve Your Posture
In Pilates, there’s a lot of emphasis on the core and the spine. Harmonious and controlled movements strengthen and elongate the surrounding muscles, improving balance and leading to a more stable and powerful torso.
This translates into better posture, which is evident in people who have been practicing it for a while. A tight core and straight spine mean your shoulders won’t slouch. You’ll give the impression of being taller, and you’ll exude confidence. Who needs a pep talk and heels when you’ve got Pilates?
You Get Killer Abs and Pelvic Muscles
It’s not uncommon for people to think yoga and Pilates are practically the same but have you seen the stomach of someone who does the latter regularly? You’re very likely to spot a beautiful set of abs. Not the worst accessory for a summer day at the beach, right?
Every movement in Pilates is controlled by your “powerhouse,” meaning your core muscles, which tend to develop rather quickly once you learn how to use them properly.
This includes your pelvic muscles, which surround, protect, and control your bladder and bowels. If you want to keep those organs healthy and functional for as long as possible to avoid needing external help (a.k.a. adult diapers) in the future, fight through the pain and work your core.
You Can Do It Anywhere
A lack of time and money are not the most valid excuses for not practicing Pilates.
Fancy studios with fancy equipment (like the Reformer) are often the first things that come to mind when we think of Pilates. The fees are usually hefty and the hours are not always convenient.
However, although it’s wise to take a class with a trained professional to get the fundamental movements locked down first, it’s also fine to do Pilates at home. There are plenty of video tutorials and online workouts that can be quickly done in the comfort of your home. All you need is comfortable clothes, a mat, and the will to work hard to obtain top-notch results.
It Helps with Weight Loss
Weight loss: the two magic words equally loved by marketers and consumers. But unlike gluten-free pasta, Pilates truly does benefit your waistline.
Because all your muscles are engaged at the same time and there is no downtime for you to take a breather, Pilates is a good combination of cardio and strength training. Your metabolism gets a boost and your muscle tone increases.
However, just like with any other physical activity, you have to combine it with a healthy diet if you want to achieve your weight loss goals in a short amount of time.
Pilates is a fun and challenging option for those looking to change up their workout routine or even start a new one. With a wide range of benefits for both body and mind, it’s easy to see why you should give it a try and reap the rewards of this new commitment.