If you had to imagine what exercises someone with supernatural or superhuman strength would practice on a regular basis what would you guess? Probably a lot of weight training, and maybe some intense cardio. The truth of the matter is that if Superman or Wonder Woman were alive and flying through our skies, they probably would be doing Pilates for strength training on their off days because of its incredible ability to generate strength, prevent injuries, and encourage movement control. As we age, it’s important to maintain our muscle mass and include strength training in our regimens to protect our bones, and maintain a healthy weight.
was created by German born Joseph Pilates, who as a child was incredibly sick and struggled with rickets, asthma, and rheumatic fever. Because of his sickly childhood he developed an obsession and determination to strengthen his body and achieve superior health, which lead him to study and master a wide range of exercise disciplines until he finally created his own system. During World War II, he was able to use Pilates to rehabilitate bedridden soldiers! Even today, at many hospital rehabilitation centers Pilates is used to help patients regain strength and recover. Later, Joseph Pilates opened up a studio in New York City and began to train some of the most renowned dancers at the New York City Ballet who loved the exercise which allowed them to build incredible strength and recover from injuries more quickly. Sometime after Pilates made its way to Hollywood, and it’s been a staple in our exercise culture ever since. Below are a few awesome reasons, why you should give Pilates a try.
It’s a Complimentary Full Body Workout.
No matter what you love to do whether it be run, bike, swim etc. integrating Pilates into your lifestyle will only enhance your performance in your other exercises disciplines. Pilates exercises train several muscle groups at once in smooth continuous movements but still allows your body to recuperate. These exercises are great for injury recovery and prevention, sports performance, good posture, and optimal health.
Stabilizes and Develops a Strong Core.
If you’re in need of a little tummy tuck, you may want to skip going under the knife and get on a mat. Pilates strengthens the core muscles and abdomen like no other exercise and in doing so helps to improve your posture, and leave you feeling longer, leaner, and even taller. In tandem with improving the strength of your core, by default Pilates can strengthen your back and help to resolve lower back pain or issues.
You Can Do it Anywhere.
Once great thing about Pilates is how accessible it is and how cheap it is to start. You can take a class at your local gym or studio, or break out a mat in your home and pop in a DVD or watch a routine on YouTube.
The great part about this tried and true system is you don’t have to guess whether or not your body is going to change for the better. It will. All you have to do is commit to regular practice and you will begin to see positive changes in your body and feel shifts in your posture and alignment throughout your day.
Challenging Mind/Body Workout.
Just like yoga, Pilates requires the use of the breath during the exercises and thus helps to integrate mind and body, and help you develop control over your movements. Doing the exercises gives support to the spine and creates space between each vertebrae which makes you appear taller and allows you to move with more ease. The other great thing about Pilates is that similar to yoga, you can never get bored. There are always modifications to make exercises easier or more challenging depending on your fitness level. Want to ramp it up? Try Pilates reformer classes that allow you to complete the movements with assistance from a body weight centered machine that allows you to increase resistance for a more challenging workout.
Herman, E., & Baker, K. (2009). Pilates for dummies. Milton, Qld: Wiley.