4 Benefits of Practicing Pilates

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In the past decade or so, Pilates has gained popularity in the mainstream market, being available in gyms, studios, and classes all around the world. However, it is actually a practice that has been around since early 20t h century. It was a physical fitness system originally developed by Joseph Pilates, who believed in the power and interrelation of mind and body strength. Today, it has proven beneficial for physical therapy, weight loss, muscle tone, and improved athletic performance, among others.

Some people may get confused between yoga and Pilates, and rightfully so, as they both offer similar benefits. Joseph Pilates studied yoga when developing his system, thus many elements were incorporated into his practice. The main difference is that yoga includes more of the spiritual component of the ancient practice, whereby Pilates focuses more on the workout itself.

When practiced regularly, Pilates improves one’s flexibility, increases core strength, and allows for better control, alignment, breathing, coordination, and balance in the entire body. Read on for a few ways on how Pilates can help you achieve a great body and ease your mind from everyday stresses.

1. Core Strength

Photo credit: CarolLunetta / Foter / CC BY-SA

Pilates places a strong focus on increasing core power. The core is basically the abdominal muscles, back muscles, hip and pelvic muscles, which all work together to support the spine. Having a strong core is essential not just for exercise benefits, but in everyday tasks as well as such as carrying a toddler, lifting heavy items, picking up groceries, as well as preventing achy backs. It also promotes good posture and coordination. If you play other sports, cycle, or run, core strength is also beneficial as it make you stronger and more agile. The beginner classes will first teach you how to control your core through various breathing techniques and postures, which can be done at home as well.

2. Body Awareness

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A lot of Pilates has to do with being aware of your body. You may have noticed how someone you know who does regular Pilates has great posture, stands tall, and seems graceful or elegant. This is because Pilates teaches you to have symmetry and coordination in the body, and over time, it becomes a natural habit. For example, you learn how to hold in your navel and square your shoulders, leading to better posture, and you will start to notice how certain actions such as holding a phone precariously to your ear, or hunching over your computer, can cause muscle twitches and pulls. Being aware of your body leads to better confidence as well as reduces annoying aches and pains.

3. Mind-Body Connection

Photo credit: CarolLunetta / Foter / CC BY-SA

In order to do pilates properly, focus and concentration is very important. It’s not enough to simply know the postures and poses that are taught in pilates, as proper execution involves Joseph Pilates’ six principles — centering, concentration, precision, breathing, flow, and control. In class, you will be taught how to use imagery and brain power to master each exercise. Therefore, it offers a mental boost, and many people who practice it feel more connected to their bodies, more confident, and mentally stimulated.

4. Stress Relief

Photo credit: Mateus Lunardi Dutra / Foter / CC BY


Another great benefit of Pilates, just like other forms of exercise, is the power to reduce stress. Pilates encourages you to relax the body, as Joseph Pilates is quoted as having said, “One must move without tenseness”. The breathing techniques also helps clear the mind, going back to the age-old theory of ‘taking a deep breath’ when you feel tense, as deep breathing helps to calm the nervous system, relax the body, and rejuvenate your system with a boost of fresh oxygen.

Read This: 6 Tips for How to Relax with Meditation and Yoga

Source: The Expat magazine July 2015

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