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Pilates

Pilates is a form of exercise that aims to strengthen the body in a consistent way. The particular emphasis is on the improvement of core strength. Doing Pilates helps improve your general fitness and well-being.

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What is Pilates?

Pilates is similar to Yoga, as it concentrates on your posture, balance and flexibility and the chances of you getting injured are much lower than in other more strenuous forms of exercise. It focuses on the mind-body connection. When doing the exercises, your mind is constantly aware of your breathing and the way that your body moves.

Pilates exercises are done usually on a mat or with specialised equipment, which can provide resistance or support, depending on your needs.

Is Pilates for me?

In a word, YES. Anybody can benefit from Pilates, no matter your age or level of fitness.

Because your instructor can modify the training to provide either a gentle strength training program or a challenging workout, it is completely safe for everybody to do. It is suitable for people who exercise regularly as well as those that are complete beginners.

The beginners will work on the basic exercises to understand how the body works and work on the relationship between breathing and movement. Once you have mastered this, then you will be able to increase the difficulty at a speed that you feel comfortable with.

At the beginning it is important to go to a class so that the instructor can help you with the correct form to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from the exercises. It will mean that you will avoid the chance of being injured and coached along.

If you have any health concerns, such as a health condition or an injury, we recommend that you seek advice from a GP or a health professional before starting any exercise programme.

What are the health benefits of Pilates?

When you are considering Pilates, you are quite right to wonder what the health benefits of this this type of exercise are and how it can benefit you. Pilates concentrates on core strength, posture and flexibility and the health benefits can include

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bullet-blue.png Improvement of your core – this means that it will help you to manage your muscles and strengthen your body. If you are suffering from a leaky bladder, then this will help you to control the muscles that are involved in the process. To find out more about this, please click here to download our FREE report.

bullet-blue.png Posture – Pilates will teach you to gain and maintain a good posture. The exercises require that your body is always in alignment. This is especially beneficial if you are suffering from lower back pain. To find out more about this, please click here to download our FREE Spinal Health brochure or here to download our FREE Back Pain report.

bullet-blue.png Muscle Tone – the exercises that you do will make use of muscles that you don’t use on a daily basis and may have even forgotten that you have! Once the initial soreness has worn off, you will find that your muscles are much more toned. This is great for older people and those who don’t move a lot in their daily life as this muscle tone generally gets worse as you get older or remain inactive.

bullet-blue.png Flat abdominal muscles – As Pilates concentrates on strengthening your core which includes your abdominal muscles, you will find that one of the benefits of the exercise is that your stomach will become flatter.

bullet-blue.png Flexibility – As we age, we tend to lose the flexibility we had when we were younger. Pilates will restore your flexibility, starting off very gently. After a while, you will be surprised at how much more flexible your body has become. This is especially important if you are prone to falls as it will help you to avoid injury.

bullet-blue.png Improves your balance – you will become much more aware of how your body moves and performs. So actually, whilst improving your balance through a better posture, it also improves your mind-body balance.

bullet-blue.png Reduces stress – when doing the exercises, you will be so focussed on doing the movements correctly and the breathing techniques that you will have learned that you will momentarily forget about your day to day responsibilities and issues. This will help you to reduce your stress.

bullet-blue.png Sense of wellbeing – Pilates is focused on providing a balance between your mind and body and this is something that improves your overall sense of wellbeing.

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Can Pilates help me lose weight?

This is a question that we are often asked by people who have not done any exercise for a long time and are want to start on a low impact form of exercise as they are worried about other higher impact activities.

Pilates is a muscle strengthening form of exercise and it can help you trim and tone certain areas of your body, especially your legs, stomach and buttocks. Our classes can be tailored to offer a gentle exercise program for providing core strength, flexibility and balance or a complete workout for a more rigorous exercise program.

However, it is important to point out that Pilates is not classed as an aerobic exercise, so for an effective weight loss, you should combine Pilates with a balanced diet and some regular aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling or swimming.

Can I get injured doing Pilates?

As Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise, injuries are uncommon, But it is important to find a class that is at the right level for you, otherwise you might find yourself exerting yourself more than you wanted to!

If you feel that something is not right, then you should stop and inform the teacher of this.

What's the difference between pilates and yoga?

While the methods are different, Pilates and yoga both develop strength, balance, flexibility, posture and good breathing technique.

Both systems emphasise the connection between physical and mental health, although yoga places more emphasis on relaxation and uses meditation. Pilates is performed both on apparatus and mats, whereas classic yoga does not require any equipment.

Pilates exercises are performed in a flow of movement without the static poses associated with yoga.

Research has found that Pilates can be an effective treatment for injuries and illnesses such as :

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Chronic neck and back pain.

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Hip or knee replacements.

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Multiple sclerosis.

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Fibromyalgia.

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Scoliosis

It is also excellent for athletes, dancers and other sports professionals who have had some kind of injury and need rehabilitation to get back into top form. Because Pilates is a low-impact exercise, it can be tailored to work on certain areas of your body as long as you have a trained and qualified instructor.

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