Pilates represents a form of strengthening your entire body, especially the so-called ’core’ muscles, lower back, and hips. Together with the physical exercises, it incorporates meditation and breathing techniques at the same time. On top of this, it improves the flexibility and balance with more than 500 exercises which are performed either on a mat or by using special equipment such as the Reformer, Cadillac, and Wunda Chair.
Joseph Pilates developed this method (’Contrology’) in the early 20th century with the aim of helping people strengthen both their bodies and their minds. Here’s how pilates can really be useful to you, no matter what your current age or fitness level may be.
Is Pilates Suitable For You?
First of all, pilates is generally speaking safe for anyone, but each individual should first get in touch with their GP and make sure that it’s ok for them to proceed to do these exercises. Pilates is designed to help people in different age groups and fitness levels, and you can easily adjust the training regimen to suit your current condition.
So, to answer the question – yes, it’s most likely that Pilates is suitable for you, but it really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. For instance, if you want to lose weight, you should think about incorporating some aerobic exercises with reduced caloric intake on a daily level, to go along with Pilates.
What Are the Health Benefits?
Pilates is mainly anaerobic, and it’s performed with slow, and controlled movements in order to increase one’s stability, strength, flexibility, and overall endurance. It can help you with maintaining the right posture throughout the day, as the core muscles are the ones which are emphasized and worked out the most.
Not only will you be able to strengthen those muscles and improve your posture, but you’ll also work out your legs and upper body muscles as well. With the improved physical condition, there’s also a huge benefit of becoming more focused, determined and mentally strong.
Doing Pilates With a Medical Condition?
There are not a lot of exercises which are safe to perform while a person is having some kind of medical condition, but Pilates can be great for you even if you’re having health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. It can also be highly beneficial for people who are recovering from sports injuries.
The most important thing here is to find medically qualified health professionals, like the ones at Aevum Physiotherapy for instance, and make sure that it’s alright for you to do these types of exercises. Although Pilates counts as a low-impact form of exercising and injuries are rare, you still want to ensure that you won’t further aggravate your current medical condition.
Basic Forms of Pilates
There are two basic forms of Pilates: mat-based and equipment-based Pilates.
The first form includes more than 30 exercises performed on the floor, using your body weight to provide resistance. This is why some people see Pilates as a form of calisthenic exercises. Mat-based Pilates is designed to help people improve their posture, balance, and coordination, by targeting the deeper, supporting muscles.
The second form of Pilates is equipment-based and it includes the equipment that we’ve mentioned at the beginning of the article. The way the equipment works is that it creates a spring-loaded resistance to further strengthen the different muscle groups. Sometimes Pilates includes weights (usually dumbbells) if there’s a need to add some extra muscle mass.
Pilates can be a great choice for anyone who seeks to improve posture, stabilization of the spine, flexibility, muscle strength, tone, and control. It’s also great for rehabilitation and injuries prevention, coordination, balance, lung capacity, improved concentration, stress management, and relaxation.
Even though Pilates is basically suited for everyone, we’d highly recommend you to contact your GP or other medically qualified professionals in this area to make sure you’re on the right track to vastly improve your overall health – both physical and mental.