Pilates – why is it good for your health?

Pilates – why is it good for your health?

Pilates is an exercise system practiced by many around the world. It was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 20th century to help strengthen both mind and the body. During World War I he was held at an internment camp. It took him four years working with fellow prisoners. The system uses a range of equipment; the Wunda Chair, Spine corrector, the reformer, the Cadillac and the Ladder Barrel. These are used to strengthen, alignment and stretch the body.

What is Pilates?

Pilates moves require a lot of control and precision, as well as a fair amount of technique. Even though it may look simple there is a lot more to the exercises that you might think. You can practice anywhere and do not have to be in a gym or centre. However, you do need to be confident in your technique so you need to begin with a good teacher who will guide you in the right direction. Classes can be found at your local gym, Pilates centres or online even. Face to face is easier though to teach you to develop the right techniques.

Whilst Pilates is somewhat like yoga it works more on your core, your abdominal and spinal areas. Other areas that it will help is strengthening and toning your legs, your upper thighs, and your buttocks. It will also help you maintain good body posture, flexibility and balance. Pilates will bring focus to the connection between the mind and body as it will make you aware of your breathing and the way your body moves.

Health Benefits

There are some great health benefits of Pilates. Some of these include good posture because the exercises require your body to always be in alignment. This means it is great to practice if you suffer from lower back pain. Pilates helps you build muscle tone which you will become aware of if you feel sore after your workout. This soreness is usually because your muscles are re building themselves and you will find they will become toned. You need to be aware though that if the pain doesn’t subside after a day or so you may have done more damage and will need to get it looked at by a health care professional.

If you have lost muscle tone due to inactivity, then this exercise system is good for you as it builds muscle using low impact exercises. Low impact exercises are good when you are getting started as they have a lower risk of injuries. If you are looking for more flexibility then Pilates will help you with that also. As we age, flexibility tends to decrease. Pilates, while it will be a long and slow process, will help you to get it back.

Pilates is also good for people needing to improve their balance. Through the mind-body connection you will be taught while practicing Pilates, you will find that you are becoming more aware of how your body moves. This exercise improves your physical balance by promoting proper posture, mind-body balance and helps to reduce stress. When practicing Pilates, you will need to be focused and won’t be able to think about anything else, including those things that are triggering your stress. Pilates will have you concentrating on your breathing and all the different moves you will be making with your body, making it an effective stress release.

Can Pilates be harmful?

Pilates is NOT suitable for everyone, for some people it can cause more issues. If you if you have one or more of the following conditions, you should not practice Pilates.

  • Herniated disk
  • Unstable blood pressure
  • Have a risk of blood clots
  • Have severe osteoporosis

If you have not exercised in a while, it is a good idea to consult your health care practitioner before you start. Make sure it is something that is right for you. Also, you should talk to a health care professional if you are older, or if you are pregnant, or have health problems. You may find that they tell you it is fine but it is always good to check before starting, not only Pilates but any new exercise regime.

Pilates is not considered as an aerobic exercise so it is not effective as some other exercises to lose weight. For weight loss Pilates needs to be combined with an aerobic exercise program as well as a healthy diet. This will help you burn kilojoules, tone but build muscle.

Search up and contact your local Pilates classes today and register for a new you by the time Spring arrives. At the same time consult your natural practitioner for a great eating plan and you will be well on the way for better health and fitness.

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim

Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website at Stressfree Management.

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