Staying fit can often feel like a full time job if you let your routine get too mundane. Whomever said Variety is the Spice of Life, was definitely on to something! Though there are literally thousands of moves in the Pilates repertoire, it’s easy to fall prey to the ones you’re good at already if you’re not careful. This can allow disenchantment to set in, which ultimately leads to a sense of un-accomplishment. The fix? Change it up!
This happens to me more frequently than I care to admit. I also find that while I love trying all different types of exercise modalities, I always gravitate back to Pilates. Quite simply because it works. It’s the only form of exercise that I have found to effectively and mindfully strengthen and lean out the body as a whole system.
Sooo what the heck is Pilates? On a totally basic level you can find the nuts and bolts of what goes on in a studio below, but for a more detailed version be sure to check out my book 🙂
The main traditional pieces of studio equipment are the reformer, Cadillac (or trapeze table), chair, spine corrector and ladder barrel. These can either make the movement easier by assisting it, or increase the challenge by resisting it.
Mat work is performed on the floor using nothing but a mat, and uses gravity and your own body weight as resistance. This can be performed anywhere, so NO EXCUSES!
There are a myriad of small props such as the magic circle, Swiss ball, small hand weights, therabands and weighted poles; these add variety to the mat work and can also be used in combination the reformer.
Top 5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Pilates
1. Brain Training
Learning new activities is a proven brain training technique, but most of us don’t have the time or inclination to do so. A new movement or a new modification in a Pilates routine provides just the effect we are looking for by challenging the body and mind at the same time.
2. Deeper muscle activation = Better function of the nervous system
When you learn to voluntary engage certain muscles (like deep core activation in Pilates) you fire a movement chain that might have been asleep for a long time. Did you know that your core consists of 29 muscles and not just a six-pack? Learning to use them is a cleansing rinse for your nervous system.
3. Relieves Stress and Tension
Pilates relieves tension built up in the muscles through gentle stretching and gradual conditioning, allowing it to release while loosening tight muscles.
4. Brings Happiness
When our body is exercised well, endorphins are released into the body that boost our endorphins. If you enjoy your workout and stay focused, you will ultimately feel happy and calm at the end.
Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. ~Joseph Pilates
5. Boosts Confidence
Pilates is all about good posture and proper body alignment. Of course, good posture is important for your health, but you will also gain the confidence benefit from it.