Regular exercise has a lot of benefits for your body and mind.
Pilates is extremely popular all over the world and various groups of people practice it on a daily basis. But do you know why people like it so much, and what are the health benefits of Pilates?
Pilates increases your strength, improves balance, flexibility, and circulation, and it can reduce back pain. It is a low impact exercise and it saves your joints. Certain exercises can help you improve posture or even recover from various injuries.
Here I am going to briefly explain these benefits and give you basic info about Pilates, in the following chapters:
What is Pilates?
Pilates is actually a large group of exercises, largely focused on your core, that can be practiced on a mat, or to increase its efficiency, on one or more Pilates machines.
It was created by Joseph Pilates almost a century ago. He believed that healthy and strong body are necessary to keep a healthy mind and lead a quality life.
Today, many forms of Pilates exist and they all serve the same purpose; to deliver all the health benefits to its practitioners.
The best thing about Pilates is that exercises can be chosen and modified to suit everyone’s needs and fitness level.
Motion control and proper breathing are the main focus, and your muscles are never exhausted completely.
What does Pilates do to your body?
Pilates brings a lot of improvements to your body. Here are the health benefits of Pilates:
Increased muscles strength
Muscles, especially the core, get weaker and weaker if not in use. Developing your muscles will enable easier movement, it will save your joints and spine because strong muscles stabilize your body.
Increased flexibility and mobility
Flexibility and mobility are highly connected. Increased range of motion enables you to move with ease and control your movement better, while increased flexibility reduces the possibility of injuries and enlengthens your muscles.
Improved posture and balance
Proper posture is important for your spine, and your spine is the most important part of your body. By strengthening core muscles that support your spine, you will be able to walk upright. Proper position also reduces stress on your organs and improves circulation.
Circulation is extremely important, because it delivers oxygen to all of your tissues. By activating your muscles and increasing your heartrate a little, you are doing yourself a huge favor in the long run.
When there are no muscles to support our joints and your range of motion is limited, you can easily damage your joints, even while doing everyday activities like walking. Athletes, on the other hand, put a lot of stress on their joints and practice Pilates as a restorative workout.
Increased lung capacity
Proper breathing and lung capacity determine how much oxygen our body gets, and it is connected with circulation. Pilates is focused on proper breathing that follows your movement and increases your lung capacity.
Strengthening certain muscle groups that support your joints can help you ease lower back pain, or even symptoms of arthritis.
Relaxation and sleep improvement
Long term benefits are better sleep, which is extremely important if you are leading a fast lifestyle and work long hours. When under stress, your muscles, especially shoulders and neck contract. Pilates will help you with that and you are going to feel more relaxed, both physically and mentally.
As you can see, all of these are interconnected, and one benefit will lead to another. That is a great thing about Pilates.
How long does it take to see results from Pilates?
The health benefits of Pilates are numerous, but the only way to truly feel all of them is to practice regularly. An average person should do Pilates exercises about 3 or 4 times a week.
You can see some short-term results right after the first few classes. You are going to feel positive and energetic. Of course, these results will disappear after a few hours but they are enough to keep you motivated to continue.
After about 12 to 20 classes (which is about 4 to 7 weeks if practiced 3 times a week) you are going to notice more benefits. Even between practices you will have more energy, your body will move with ease and you will feel the proper body alignment and posture improvement.
After about 3-4 months of regular exercise, you are going to see the results too. Your muscles will get toned, you will feel stronger, sleep better, and those things you struggled to do physically are going to feel much easier. This is the time when your body changes completely and to continue enjoying these results, regular exercises is necessary.
These numbers are an estimate, and they depend on your fitness level before, quality of your diet, regular sleep, and your lifestyle in general.
Pilates is a form of exercise that can be done alone, or as an addition to other sport activities. Even those with sensitive joints can practice it and relieve the pain.
It is important to practice regularly, and if you do so, after just a few months, your body will transform completely, and you will notice long term effects of all the health benefits of Pilates.
Joseph Pilates was right when he said that healthy and strong body is crucial to live a healthy life.