If you’ve decided to start working out, it can be hard to pick what the best workout might be for you in the endless sea of exercise regimes. So, how do you know Pilates is right for you? Is it worth doing?
Pilates is worth doing because it ensures a rounded exercise for all muscle groups. It strengthens your core, improves your posture and range of motion in your joints, and enhances the connection between your body and mind. Therefore, it’s a perfect choice for staying fit and relieving stress.
In this article, I’ll explain the benefits of doing Pilates, which will give you the tools to make an informed choice. I’ll also go over why it’s so popular and hopefully help you start your Pilates journey today. Read on!
Why You Should Choose Pilates As Your Exercise Regime
The type of exercise you do depends on the goal you’re trying to achieve. Pilates is an excellent choice if you’re looking to do the following:
- Improve fitness
- Strengthen the muscles of the whole body, including the abdominal muscles – the core and muscles of your back
- Reduce the percentage of fat tissue
- Increase flexibility
Unlike most forms of exercise (which are based on strengthening individual parts of the body instead of treating the body as a whole), Pilates is based on a more holistic approach, treating the human body as an indivisible physical and mental entity.
With Pilates, there’s no fear of the development of too large muscles, which are usually an inevitable consequence of other traditional workout methods. Additionally, damage to muscles and ligaments is also avoided.
Instead of multiple repetitions of each exercise, smaller repeats are preferred, but with more precise movements, requiring more concentration.
The exercises are performed slowly and carefully, almost like meditation. Pilates is done individually or in small groups, which makes it possible to adjust the program to the specific requirements and abilities of the group.
Therefore, when it comes to Pilates, the pros far outweigh any cons.
Who Is Pilates Recommended For?
- Strengthening muscles
- Establishing correct body posture
- Teaching the proper way of breathing and relaxation
This method is often incorporated into rehabilitation and physical therapy programs for a quicker recovery of soft tissue injuries.
Pilates is also safe to practice while pregnant – it can even help women learn to breathe correctly and return the prior weight and muscle tone faster after pregnancy.
However, in case of any spine damage or deformation, it’s advisable to consult with a doctor before starting Pilates classes. Your doctor will be able to assess whether Pilates can be practised or not and possibly suggest which exercises and movements should be avoided.
Nevertheless, if the injury isn’t severe, Pilates can only help and eliminate back and spine pain.
Why Is Pilates So Popular Today?
Pilates is a popular exercise choice today because it offers people the best of meditation, yoga, and cardio exercises all rolled into one.
It encourages you to focus on the connection of mind and body, relaxation, and awareness, while improving muscle tone, strength, and endurance.
Joseph Pilates believed every exercise must follow a natural flow like every other human activity does in everyday life.
This is also why it has gained so much popularity in recent years; people want to simultaneously look fantastic and feel great, making Pilates the perfect option in a sea of HIIT exercises.
It’s also very complimentary to other exercises you might do as it ensures you gain a full body workout and don’t just focus on one specific area.
Building up a strong core will help in a number of areas,and it can be done in just a few simple exercises.
I’ll go over the main principles of Pilates in the next section, which further explains why Pilates is a popular choice and why it’s worth doing.
Principles of Pilates
Joseph Pilates’ exercises were created to engage the entire musculature, with the main focus resting on the core muscles. The exercises are controlled and precise, with a constant emphasis on the linkage between mind and body.
By repetition of the motions, the entire body starts working as a unit. With a small number of repetitions, we achieve endurance, attentiveness, and harmony within ourselves.
Although there are hundreds of different approaches and variations of individual exercises, the following basic principles of the Pilates technique are always applied:
What Is the Best Way To Choose the Perfect Exercise Regime?
If you’re still not sure if Pilates is worth doing, it’s important to know how to choose the perfect exercise regime for you.
From my many years of experience, I’ve realized that people most often exercise either because of back and neck pain (to strengthen the muscles of those weak areas), to lose weight, or, of course, to feel better (both mentally and physically).
When choosing the perfect exercise regime for you, we can use Ernst Kretschmer body types as an example in which each type has a specific body structure:
The Asthenic Type
The asthenic type has very little stored fat and is slim with long limbs. People of the asthenic type should avoid aerobic activities and work on gaining muscle mass. The best way to do that is to increase work with weights and to increase the intake of calories in the diet with an emphasis on complex carbohydrates.
The ideal program for an asthenic person is lifting weights and Pilates with weights. Although it might seem so, Pilates wasn’t designed as an aerobics exercise, but as a low-impact exercise focused on the core muscles and general health of the body.
The Athletic Body Type
The athletic body type is the type of person who has no problem gaining muscle mass. For this body type, it’s recommended to regularly use aerobic activities, a diet with minimal fat intake, and choose training with lots of repetitions and short breaks.
The best exercise choices for the athletic body type are aerobic programs, Tae Bo, and Pilates, as its extensive program includes lean muscle gain.
The Pyknic Body Type
The pyknic body type tends to gain excessive weight and is prone to fat deposits on the torso. Training that’s suitable for the pyknic type includes Pilates, but also all aerobic programs.
For ideal results, it’s necessary to use more protein and reduce energy and fat intake.
Pilates is an outstanding option for all body types because it helps achieve physical and mental balance and better concentration, regardless of age and physical condition.
With Pilates, a stronger, firmer musculature of the entire body is attained – and therefore, you gain more flexibility in your body, achieve better posture, lose excess weight, and acquire harmony of movements.
Thanks to proper breathing, lung capacity increases with time, and circulation improves.
Pilates is a great, well-rounded choice of workout for everyone.
It reshapes your body and helps you connect to your mind in a very profound way. Pilates aids in boosting your overall physical health and enables you to feel better about yourself.
A meta-analysis of the effects of Pilates on mental health in 2018 showed that it’s fantastic in combating stress and depression and increases the all-around quality of life in today’s hectic world.
With better posture and breathing techniques that bring peace to your inner being, feeling good, and looking good, Pilates is undoubtedly worth doing in my book.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica: Ernst Kretschmer
- Pilates Moves You: Can You Build Muscle with a Pilates Bar?
- Pilates Moves You: Pilates vs. Weights: Does one replace the other?
- Pilates Moves You: Does Pilates Burn Fat?
- Pilates Moves You: Is Pilates Good for 70-Year-Olds? It’s great at all ages!
- Pilates Moves You: How can Pilates change your body?
- The Bump: Pilates During Pregnancy
- Wikipedia: Joseph Pilates
- Science Direct: The effects of pilates on mental health outcomes: A meta-analysis of controlled trials