There’s a very good chance you have heard someone in your life talking about Pilates, it seems that no matter which way you turn, from professional athletes to new moms, somebody is espousing the incredible benefits of this exercise regime. But why is it so popular? And should you try it?
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, who wanted to increase his student’s flexibility, strength and stamina. The popularity of Pilates slowly grew over time until there was a huge explosion of interest in the late 90’s and 00’s. However Pilates has proven itself to be a highly effective method of exercise and not just a flash-in-the-pan fad. Interest in Pilates continues to grow as people all over the world find out its amazing benefits.
Pilates using stretching, strengthening and light resistance exercises to improve their core strength. Many people of all types of fitness levels have seen significant increases in their posture, strength, flexibility and even circulation. Bad backs and neck pain can also be vastly improved with Pilates. Because of the focus on strengthening your core and spine, one benefit of Pilates is that you can become very aware of your body and how you hold yourself and you will find yourself correcting your posture and body naturally in everyday life. How you sit, stand and move will change and you will find all those little aches and pains will start to disappear. Pilates is excellent for all types of people, especially for those who sit or do computer work all day, as posture can become very awkward bent over a desk all day.
A lot of work can be done on a floor mat in a group class, but there is equipment that can be used, like a Pilates ring. The Pilates ring is commonly used by squeezing it lightly between the hands or legs to provide a light resistance. Using the ring while changing positions means the body will have challenges to balance and will have to use its core muscles to adjust.
Another key piece of Pilates Equipment is the reformer. The Pilates reformer is a large padded seat with a frame and foot bar. It uses a series of pulleys for your legs and arms to provide that all important resistance which is key to building strength and improving flexibility. Using the reformer is usually best done with a professional trainer until you are comfortable enough with its use.
Pilates is a great form of exercise with many health benefits just make sure you have the right equipment on hand in order maximize your time spent doing it.