“I feel amazing when I get done with Pilates!” “I never get out of breath during Pilates.” “I’m never super sore from Pilates, yet I can tell I did something.” “I feel taller and longer when I’m done with Pilates.” “I actually enjoy Pilates!”
All the reasons that so many people LOVE their Pilates workout, are also all the reasons that so many Pilates virgins are skeptical that this lovable method of exercise could actually be effective! It’s true that a Pilates workout does not leave your body feeling the same as it might after a long run, an aerobics class or even a weight training session, but don’t let that trick you into thinking that it’s not effective “real” exercise.
ex·er·cise /ˈeksərˌsīz/ noun: activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness
- Strengthen Your Muscles Pilates exercises are designed to strengthen all the muscles in your body if they need it. One of the goals of the Pilates method is to uniformly develop your body. This means that by practicing the exercises you will develop strength in your muscles in a way that balances your body out. I often describe this simply as strengthening the weak muscles and stretching the tight muscles so that your body functions more efficiently and you are less prone to injuries caused from imbalances.
- Gain Flexibility When you strengthen the weak muscles in your Pilates exercises, you will simultaneously stretch and lengthen the muscles that are chronically tight in your body. This means you will gain flexibility and mobility in your body without having to spend hours simply holding stretches.
- Gain Mobility in Your Spine By doing exercises that move your body in a variety of ways that you might not do a lot in your everyday life, you will feel more mobile and less stiff in your back and throughout your entire body.
- Increased Circulation Pilates uses whole body movements and focused breathing techniques that will increase circulation throughout your body. Blood circulation is what keeps our bodies functioning and increased circulation can promote healthier skin, promote cell growth and just plain help you feel better and more energized.
- Physical Activity that increases your heart rate Our bodies were designed to move! Pilates classes and sessions are designed to have you moving throughout. You may not get your heart rate up as much as you would for a run, but your heart rate will increase and you will be active throughout your session.
- Decrease feelings of stress and anxiety Physical activity like Pilates produces endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Studies show that physical activity is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function.
If you are used to traditional exercise methods that leave you feeling the burn, exhausted and out of breath, and maybe so sore the next day it’s hard to sit, then learning Pilates will definitely be a change. Just because it feels different though doesn’t mean it isn’t effective! The Pilates method is versatile enough to be an effective exercise method for professional athletes and adaptive enough to be a favorite method for practitioners in their 60’s and beyond. If you are curious about what it could do for your body and your life, we would love to introduce you to it! Click here to schedule a complimentary session with one of our trained Pilates professionals.