What is Pilates?
You have probably heard the term “Pilates” several times, but you are not sure of what exactly it consists off due to the ambiguity of what Pilates actually is. Pilates exercises belong to a group called body-mind exercises.
Pilates exercises focus on building strength of the abdominal muscles designed to strengthen the inner postural muscles and help create muscle flexibility in a controlled effective and sustainable manner. Precision and control are some of the main principals included in Pilates during movement which results to isolation of the main muscles at work. Pilates exercises refresh both the body and mind while holding many other benefits.
Benefits of Pilates:
- During Pilates one’s awareness of the mind and respiration increases, when Pilates movements are executed with awareness it will lead to greater psychological advantages – such as reducing stress levels.
- Mental control can be achieved by doing the exercises in a correct and structured manner which contributes towards achieving maximum results.
- Improves physical well-being.
- Increases flexibility.
- Increases mobility (correct movement) and stability (control).
- Strengthens core.
- Increases muscular endurance.
- Pilates exercises will help shape the waist.
- Strengthens the back.
- Trains the abdominal muscles.
- Teaches muscles recruitment and the principle of disassociation.
- Reduces the onset of lower back pain.
- Improves sports performance.
- Reduces the risk of injury.
- Great for increasing bone density.
Who can do Pilates?
Pilates has no specific criteria of who can and who cannot participate in the exercise, it is open to everyone and the best part is that the exercises can be easily adjusted to meet everyone’s goals whether seniors, kiddies, pre- and post-natal, sportsmen and women, including persons with certain injuries or movement restrictions. Many believe that the image of Pilates is linked to women only, which is incorrect because both genders can reap great rewards from Pilates. After all, Pilates was created by a man, Joseph Pilates, for men during the first World War.
How to get started:
Find the right Pilates instructor or studio. It is very important that one takes the time to find the right studio which consists of well-trained instructors with an exceptional understanding of Pilates. This will result in one truly reaping the rewards of Pilates and understanding the deeper aspects of Pilates. Finding the right instructor also reduces your chance of injury as the instructor will ensure that the exercises are being executed correctly.
What to expect in your first class?
- In your first class you will learn how to connect and understand your body. At Pilates Dynamics we value the importance of understanding your body as every individual’s body is different, which means that we all move and function differently.
- You are taught the principals set forth by Joseph Pilates and how to incorporate that into your exercises.
- The instructor observes you from all angles ensuring that the exercises are done correctly reducing your chances of injuries. You will receive a great amount of personal attention.
- During the class you are instructed when and how to breath, as well as being remined to breathe and to follow the correct breath pattern, during the movements.
- You will also be taught on how to adjust your posture, what equipment you can use to protect the body and how to simplify an exercise you find challenging, together with core and pelvic muscle recruitment and correct muscle recruitment during exercise.
What to wear:
The best thing about Pilates is that you do not need expensive attire, shoes, or fancy gadgets. The best clothes for Pilates are leggings or any form of pants you can move easily in and a top you can move your arms easily in. The big difference between Pilates classes and other classes is that during Pilates you wear socks (non-slip preferably) or can do the exercise barefoot at home.
Get some equipment:
For Pilates sessions one can incorporate various forms of equipment which are easily available at home or make use of no equipment at all. At a later stage – if you are looking at investing in certain equipment – it is always beneficial to get any of the ones listed below as a start.
- Yoga block
- Resistance band
- Swiss ball
- Magic ring
These can easily be replaced with pillows, a carpet, towel, or a basic ball, water bottles, tinned food etc.
Set up your space/ create the right space.
Pilates exercise does not require a great deal of space, which is one of the things that make the practice so easy. One should find an open space which allows for the mind to relax and to move easily with no obstructions and interference.
Give yourself time:
One does not become instantly proficient in executing the Pilates exercise method. It does take time to build the strength to do more of the advanced movements like any other type of exercise regime. As the core strength starts to develop one will instantly see and feel the difference not only during exercise performance, but in one’s posture as well as in and daily movement.
Lastly and most importantly Pilates is not a monotonous activity, classes vary each time depending on the creativity of your instructor. You will leave each session with a sanguine smile which improves your overall well-being.