Depending on your needs, Pilates might be an excellent choice of exercise. But it can’t, as people sometimes believe nowadays, do everything – no form of exercise can.
Here are the major things Pilates does:
- Pilates can help you be more flexible, particularly if you’re out of shape. Part of being flexible is having the strength and coordination to support yourself in larger, looser movements. A good Pilates teacher who understands how we use flexibility in life can help you lengthen your muscles while developing the strength to support your flexibility. This is much more effective and useful than just stretching.
- Pilates allows you to work on strength and flexibility simultaneously. In traditional gym-style fitness
you usually work on one thing at a time, and sometimes your efforts to develop one will actually hinder the other. For instance, people who lift a lot of weights without concern for flexibility often become tight and musclebound. And on the other hand, if you stretch prior to exercise, you actually weaken your muscles. Pilates helps you develop strength and flexibility in combination, the way you actually need them in your life.
- Pilates helps you develop a steady internal support in your hips and trunk. And yes, it makes your tummy flatter. You’ll sustain better posture and learn to use the deep core support key to moving with grace or power. Once you are able to find and feel this support, you will be able to bring it into athletic activities and other forms of exercise. So try not to get hung up on just the tummy thing – there’s so much more to it than that.
- Pilates helps you learn to move with more awareness. The whole point of Pilates is to help you tune into your body for exercise rather than tuning out. This is one of the method’s most challenging and enjoyable facets. And if you already feel plenty aware of yourself, such that riding a stationary bike while watching TV seems mechanical and boring to you, you’ll probably love Pilates.
- Pilates will help you relieve stress by moving and breathing mindfully. It has been shown that physical exercise helps reduce primarily the physiological effects of stress, while meditation reduces primarily the psychological experience of stress. Mindful exercise combines the stress-relieving properties of both for a very broad and powerful effect.
- A good Pilates teacher is a powerful ally in rehabilitation. If you have pain or are recovering from injury, Pilates is a wonderfully flexible system of exercise that can meet you at your current level of function, then help you progress safely.
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