At pocketnannies we are all keen in participating in some kind of exercise, although it has to be said – some more than others! But we also love sharing different ways in which you can get involved with exercise whether you are pregnant or have small children. We did a post last year about the benefits of doing pilates during pregnancy, you can read this again here. Now, courtesy of Reform Studios who are based in both Belfast and Edinburgh, we are sharing an insight into the benfits of what pilates can do for your mind and your body.
How Pilates Benefits Body & Mind
Pilates is often seen as something that serious fitness fans and sports people engage in to supplement their other fitness activities. While it can be used as part of an overall fitness regime Pilates can also be used as your main form of exercise. Pilates incorporates many different types of exercise which can help people looking to generally improve their fitness, those wanting to achieve weight loss, and even help strength parts of the body that are causing pain.
What Is Pilates?
Pilates encourages low-impact flexibility, developing muscular strength as well as endurance through movements that emphasise proper posture, core strength and balance of muscles. It was named after Joseph Pilates who developed the various exercises back in the 1920s.
Generally, a pilates routine will include exercises to:
• Promote core strength
• Muscle endurance and control
• Promote proper posture
• Include movement patterns that increase balance and flexibility
Who Can Do Pilates?
People often see the complex equipment that some pilates exercises require and think this means that only serious athletes can take part in it at a gym. But this isn’t the case – many pilates exercises require nothing more than some floor space and a mat.
If you haven’t been exercising for some time or if you have health problems, then it might be a good idea to chat with your doctor or a pilates expert before jumping into any routines – the aim is to make things better, not worse. Pregnant women should likewise be cautious about what exercises that they do but pilates is actually a great exercise to practice when pregnant.
The great thing about pilates is that it can often be adapted to the needs of the individual. This means the same exercises can be adapted for someone wanting to build their core strength as for a more serious athlete adding some variety to their fitness regime.
Specific Benefits Of Pilates
As well as general health and fitness, people also use pilates to help with specific issues or problems that they want to improve.
Back pain is one example. People suffering from non-specific lower back pain can often use pilates exercises to build up strength in their back and muscles that can help reduce pain. It should be done with an experienced trainer rather than on your own in case you make things worse.
Pilates can also help as part of a programme to lose weight and can be tailored to your fitness level to be a challenge but not to the point of injury. It’s good to include some form of aerobic exercise alongside the pilates such as walking, swimming or cycling.
The Psychological Benefits
As well as the physical benefits that are clear to see, pilates also has benefits for your mind and psychological well-being that shouldn’t be overlooked. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to destress and teach your brain to live in the moment. Undergoing a pilates session allows you to focus completely on the sensations it creates throughout your body. You can leave the hustle and bustle of the outside world behind and spend some quality time with yourself. There are of course added mental health benefits that come with regular exercise so when you practice pilates you are improving your body and mind.
Difference Between Pilates & Yoga
There are many similarities between pilates and yoga with both looking to improve balance, flexibility, posture and even good breathing techniques. Both systems also look at the connection between mental and physical health but yoga places more emphasis on relaxation and the use of meditation. Pilates is about the flow of movement while yoga tends to use static poses.
Joining A Class
A great option to start with pilates is to join a class. You can get DVDs to watch at home but if you are inexperienced then it can help to talk to people who are experts and can help you with the right exercises for your health and physical condition.
Thank you to Reform Studios for this guest post. Find out more – http://reformstudios.uk