Guest post- Trying out Pilates and other exercise classes

Hey everyone, I have a guest post today all about Pilates:

What is Pilates?

The Pilates method evolved through the work of Joseph Pilates. Not only did the exercises greatly improve his own health, but they also helped those that he trained in the method. During the first world war, Pilates was found to be beneficial for soldiers recovering from their injuries. Since then, many have found the method to aid good health and posture and to help prevent injuries. Ballet dancers, athletes and those with back injuries are just some of those who have benefited from Pilates exercises.

Pilates consists of a series of movements that aid stretching and build core stability. The progression through the movements is fluid. The emphasis is on perfecting each movement and performing it correctly rather than on excessive repetitions of the same exercise.

The Basics

Pilates can be performed on the mat or using Pilates machines such as the Reformer. These days there are many dvds and some people decide to do the exercises themselves at home. However, many have found that attending classes gives them the structure to remain motivated. Since precision is essential in Pilates, the benefits of studying with a teacher cannot be overemphasised. For many the local gym is the perfect place to take part in Pilates classes. At La Fitness, Pilates is an essential part of the fitness programme on offer.

In a Pilates class the teacher will guide the participants through the exercises, ensuring that they are using their core strength. Through strengthening the abdominal muscles, students learn to perform the exercises safely while also strengthening and protecting their backs. Rather than focussing on isolated muscles groups, Pilates focuses on the body as a whole.

The Benefits

Pilates is often used in rehabilitation. The exercises can easily be modified to work around specific injuries and to aid recovery. However, it’s not only those that are injured that can benefit from Pilates. Athletic activities, such as running, tend to build up muscle. In order to keep the body flexible and supple, it’s a good idea to also engage in activities such as Pilates. Since many people with back problems have more muscle mass than flexibility, Pilates can play an important role in protecting the back.
Strengthening the abdominal muscles is also key to preventing and recovering from many back problems. The core stability of strong abs aids correct posture both during the Pilates exercises and in daily life. Poor posture and the stress of modern day living often pulls the body out of its natural alignment. Pilates can restore that balance bringing the body back into alignment again. Taking part in Pilates is also beneficial for the immune system. In fact, Pilates found that those who he trained in the method remained healthy during the 1918 Flu epidemic. Developing core strength is also useful when engaging in other exercises, be that at the gym, running, aerobics etc. Pilates is about lengthening muscles, helping to keep a toned and flexible body. It’s also helpful in developing and maintaining a good sense of balance. With its structured breathing, Pilates is both calming and energising. Engaging in regular Pilates classes can help to reduce stress. In keeping with its focus on the whole, Pilates works to improve both physical and emotional well-being.

Have you ever thought about trying out Pilates or another fitness class? I know some people who go to pilates classes regularly and find them brilliant, but the classes near me are always very expensive. I can see the benefits of training for core strength and flexibility, but it is something I push to the bottom of my priorities.

I do think that exercise classes are really beneficial- I know that when I go to body pump I carry on lifting heavier weights, whereas if I was at home doing the same moves I would give up very quickly indeed. And although I don’t make it to aerobics much any more (as the class now starts at an earlier time and it is hard to get there after work) I love the cheesy music and the different style of cardio that we do.

What is your favourite type of exercise?

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7 thoughts on “Guest post- Trying out Pilates and other exercise classes”

  1. I’ve avoided pilates since I always think of it as a less masculine form of exercise (silly, I know). I’ve always fancied tai chi – not really fitness related but a good way to wind down and relax. A parkour class would be awesome though – it’ll help to get away from the zoms!

    Jamie @ The Zombie Fitness blog

  2. I did Pilates for 6 months after a running injury and at the beginning of my pregnancy. I used to suffer with an uneven pelvis but when I saw a physio a few weeks ago she said I am perfectly ‘neutral’ in alignment which I totall credit to the Pilates! I think it’s a great complement to exercise like running, cycling or other sports but unfortunately it can be expensive 🙁

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