Pilates has been a favourite exercise of athletes, dancers and regular folk since the 1920s. It involves a series of movements and stretches that focus on strength and flexibility, used to maintain fitness, rehabilitate injuries and improve balance. The fact that it can be done by anyone from athletes to seniors to pregnant women, makes it one of the most versatile forms of exercise around. If you are still not convinced here are some benefits of Pilates to help you understand how powerful this exercise can be for your body.
While athletes would consider the benefits of flexibility a great advantage of Pilates, many others would overlook this core benefit of the exercise. Flexibility, however, is much more important to regular people than we often give it credit for. Sitting down all day actually tenses and shortens our muscles, which in turn causes things like pack pain, neck pain and headaches. Pilates is one of the best ways to stretch your entire body and experience less pain as a result.
Rebalancing the muscles on both sides of the body
While many other forms of exercise will focus on developing one part of the body, Pilates focuses on the balanced development of the body as a whole. This means that no one part of the body will be overdeveloped in strength compared to another. This is vital to anyone looking to avoid injuries while playing sport or partaking in physical activity. Similarly, suffering an injury often means loss of strength and movement in one part of the body. The whole body focus of Pilates can help rehabilitate these muscles and ensure balanced strength and development.
Improved core support
Alongside balancing the distribution of strength throughout your body, Pilates also focuses on strengthening the core. The core is one of the most important networks of muscle in your body, stabilising your movement and allowing you to shift in any direction. This is fundamental to a strong sense of balance, prevention of falls and increased support for the back and neck, which helps reduce muscle strain and back pain.
All of these benefits, improved flexibility, balanced strength and core support, culminate in better posture. Proper posture is particularly useful in the modern world were sitting in a single position or performing the same motion over and over again can really take its toll on the body. Posture can help minimise the impact of sitting down for too long, reduce back pain, improve blood flow and keep your blood vessels healthy.
Strengthened respiratory system
Not only does Pilates focus on strength and flexibility but it also uses deep breathing to centre the body and maximize how long practitioners can hold a pose. This helps work out the respiratory system, increase lung capacity and improve circulation.
Relaxation and stress management
As with most physical exercise Pilates is a fantastic way to manage your stress and induce relaxation throughout the body. The improvements in flexibility help counteract tightness in muscles, while deep breathing helps oxygenate the body. This combined with the concentration it takes to perform each pose can do a lot to encourage a more positive state of mind.