Everywhere you go, you’ll hear people talking about pilates. Synonym of fitness, svelte body and strong core, pilate is one of the best exercise practices. Founded in 1920 and named after its founder Joseph Pilate, it became famous in recent decades. There are two versions of it, one which can be simply done on a yoga mat and the other one requires special equipment. In his article, we will be talking about everything pilates.
So if you are considering welcoming pilates in your life, then this is your go-to guide for understanding everything about it.
What Is Pilate?
Pilates are low-impact exercises that focus on the spine and core muscle groups. The aim is to provide body flexibility, strength and stability. For Joseph Pilates, the primary main goal behind creating pilates was to create a method of exercising that would allow the body to move with grace, ease, and efficiency. And in order to achieve such a body, it has to be both strong as well as flexible. These principles are applied to every movement that is done in Pilate.
Deep breathing, postures and alignments are the fundamentals of it. It can be done by people of all age groups and fitness levels.
Pilate exercises emphasise quality over quantity. The number of repetitions in this form of exercise isn’t too much but if done right could be very challenging. It is done to improve and maintain fitness as well as rehabilitate injuries because of their low impact nature.
What Are The 6 Pilate Principles?
Pilates has six principles. They are essential to understand in order to extract maximum benefits from the exercise.
Focus on breathing is very important in pilates. Joseph Pilates stressed that everyone should learn how to breathe correctly.
It is advised that while performing pilates the lungs should strongly pump the air both in inhalation and exhalation. Coordinating the breath with movement is an integral part of this exercise.
Another important principle in pilates is concentration. It is important to maintain your focus while performing. This ensures smooth movements and encourages mindfulness. Thus, concentration is another important principle of pilates.
The area between the lower ribs and pubic bone is the centre of your body. This area is also called the ‘powerhouse’ of the body. It is strongly recommended to bring your focus to the centre of your body while performing these exercises as most of the movements in pilates originate from the centre. This includes activating and engaging or relaxing your core and pelvic floor muscles.
Complete control over muscular movement is essential in pilates. This control further extends to the mind as well. The basic fundamental is to be in control of your own mind and movements.
It is very important to maintain precision in pilates. Every movement and step should be performed with precise and perfect body movements. Proper and appropriate placement and alignment with respect to the other body parts for each move in pilate is essential.
Pilate should be performed with a flow. That means the use of appropriate transitions is highly encouraged and is one of the key fundamentals.
Benefits of Pilates
1. Increases Core Strength
There is a major role of your core in pilates. There is no secret that doing pilates can help you increase your core strength. A healthy and strong core can increase flexibility, stability and strength of the body.
2. Improves Body Postures
Pilates targets the spine and core muscles majority which is why it plays a vital role in improving the body postures. You sit better and you walk better with improved body postures which are often ignored and compromised for comfort.
3. Improves Body Balance
Pilates is found to be very beneficial in improving body balance. Not just by the practice of the movements but the principles like concentration and breathing in this form of exercise aid in improving the body balance. Studies have also been in the favor of pilates, which shows that they improve the body balance in elder people.
4. Improves Flexibility and Mobility
When pilates are practised slow and smooth transition is maintained. The precise, controlled and slow movements while performing this exercises improve strength, flexibility and mobility of the body.
5. Tones Muscles
Pilate targets small muscle groups in the body. They balance the muscle by making them not too strong not too rigid. Hence they are perfect for toning the muscles.
How To Get Started
If you wish to learn pilates, it is always best to study it under the guidance of a trained and qualified instructor. Because there is so many important fundamental involved in the practice, it is essential that a trained instructor teach you every aspect of the exercise. Only an instructor can help you learn and practise this exercise in an efficient way so that you can reap maximum benefits from it.
Doing it on your own increases the chances of doing wrong and moreover the injuries. Doing it wrong will not help you in getting the benefits as well as the risk of injuries increases by many folds, especially when doing pilates with types of equipment.
Is Pilate The Right Choice For You?
Pilates are for everybody regardless the age, fitness level, gender and injuries. Everybody can do pilates but what is essential is that you know what you want to benefit from this exercise. Since pilates can be modified as per the requirements of the individuals, it is important that you are aware of your goals. A trained and qualified instructor will help you modify, add or omit the exercise depending on those goals.
If you are looking for a low-impact exercise which can promote your overall fitness then pilates can be for you but if you are looking for more, then it might not be the best option.
Yoga vs Pilate
There are a lot of similarities between yoga and pilates. They both are low impact, both focus on breaths, and they both promote body flexibility and stability however they are very different from each other.
Yoga further includes meditation and positive thinking which isn’t a part of pilates. Yoga is although suitable for everybody it is still recommended that elderly people due to the knee or joint pains should avoid yoga however that’s not the case with pilates.
The two are similar but very different formats and therefore should be chosen after thorough research.
Our Final Verdict
Pilates are a wonderful practice of exercising if you are looking for something that is low impact and could target the entire body’s fitness, flexibility and strength. It is recommended to start slow and begin with mat pilates first and then gradually start using equipment once you are familiar with the whole type of exercise. However, beware and never try to push your body beyond its limit in any form of exercise to prevent injuries. Pilates are definitely worth trying and quite literally there is no excuse for you not to try them out!