Pilates 101

 

Almost everyone has heard of Pilates class at some point, yet if you’ve never tried it, the workout can sound intimidating.

Pilates, however, isn’t only for the most experienced fitness guru. While it’s true that Pilates was originally the chosen workout of serious athletes, the strength-training benefits of Pilates can be enjoyed by anyone of just about any age. So what exactly is Pilates and how can it benefit you?

 

By Candice Graham

 

What Pilates Is

Pilates is a form of exercise that emphasizes body balance with a focus on the abdominals, lower back, hips, and thighs. The foundation of a Pilates exercise is strengthening the core, which we know has several benefits.

 

What Pilates Does

When practiced regularly, Pilates results in numerous health benefits such as improved balance, better flexibility and range of motion, and prevention and treatment of back pain. Aside from building core strength, Pilates teaches you to be more aware of your body at all times, creating better posture and coordination.

 

Choosing a Class for You

A group class at a gym or studio is a good option if you want to try the workout before investing in your own equipment. A private lesson will allow you to get one-on-one instructions. Trying out Pilates at home via a video will allow you to work at your own pace.

 

Tips for Beginners

Be patient. Results come from a culmination of work. Consult your instructor about the goals that are most realistic for you, and then work toward them gradually.

Don’t push yourself too hard. A little discomfort is OK, but if an exercise is too painful for you, don’t push yourself past your limit. Pay attention to your body.

Go slow. Make sure you make plenty of time for your exercises. Speeding it up will likely make it feel more challenging, so avoid fast-paced music and listen to your body’s own rhythm.

Don’t compare yourself to others. If you choose to take a Pilates class with others, know everyone will have different strengths and weaknesses. Pilates is a workout for you, so focus on improving your skills only.