- Exercise & Fitness
Love Yoga? 10 Terrific Reasons to Also Do Pilates
I used to think that I was a yoga person. I had discovered yoga classes during a time in my life when I needed both exercise and self-reflection and I immediately fell in love with the art of yoga. However, I’ve since learned that I’m not only a yoga person. I’m also a pilates person. In fact, I often have to convince myself to actually attend my yoga classes because I’d rather be at pilates than yoga most of the time. It’s funny because I didn’t even plan on taking pilates (although I’d thought about it off and on). What happened was that I showed up for a yoga class but I’d gotten the time wrong and ended up at a class that was a pilates mat class. I figured that since I was already there I’d go ahead and try it out and from then on I have been hooked.
There are a lot of reasons that I like pilates. If you’re anything like me then you’ll find that these ten reasons are great reasons to start doing pilates today.
1. Quick results. The single biggest thing that deters me from most forms of exercise is that you have to do it for a long time before you start to see real results. (That’s been my experience anyway, although I’m sure there are other sports where that isn’t true.) Pilates is a form of exercise where I was able to start seeing the results of my efforts almost immediately after starting the classes. That made it a lot easier to keep up the momentum to keep going.
2. It’s really simple to learn pilates. There are plenty of complex moves and exercises that you can do with pilates but the basic moves are all things that are really simple to learn. The exercises are based on a combination of toning exercises (like sit-ups) and stretching exercises (similar to yoga). If you’ve ever done yoga then it’s particularly easy to learn pilates but you can learn the basic exercises in your very first class even if you’ve never done yoga before.
3. The workout is a really good workout even though it’s not hard. A pilates workout is a great workout. It builds muscle and focuses on toning up specific parts of the body but it also gives you an overall good stretch. It’s not so hard that you can’t do it but it’s difficult enough that you can feel that you’ve worked out. That’s exactly the balance I’m seeking from a workout program.
4. You don’t need a lot of equipment. There are types of pilates that do involve props but you can do basic pilates with just a yoga mat and your own body. This means that you don’t have to invest a lot of money into learning or continuing pilates. A low-cost form of exercise is always good.
5. You can do pilates anywhere. Another great thing about the lack of equipment that is required by pilates is that you can do basic pilates anywhere once you’ve learned how to do it. You can take your mat when you travel and do the workout in the hotel. You can do pilates in your home or in your local park. You can do pilates at a local gym or at a local yoga studio. I love that there are so many options for where to do pilates.
6. It’s a calming exercise but it’s energizing. Pilates has a lot of similarities to yoga which means that it’s a type of exercise that really allows you to calm down and gain some introspection while you’re there. However, pilates is one of the few conditioning exercises that actually increases your energy levels. It requires mid-level energy and so has the benefits of being both meditative and energizing.
7. Pilates makes you more flexible. When you’re more flexible, you walk through the world with a lighter step. You’re more comfortable. Pilates increases your flexibility and that’s a benefit that I’m definitely seeking from my workout.
8. Your posture improves with pilates. Pilates teaches you all about your body. It teaches you to strengthen while you lengthen. It tightens up your core and lower back so that you can hold yourself upright more easily. This means that you end up naturally having better posture when you do pilates regularly. People with good posture project an air of confidence which ends up benefitting them in a number of different ways.
9. It’s a good pregnancy exercise. I’m not looking to get pregnant but I do have friends who are and one of their complaints is that they aren’t quite sure how to exercise properly when they do. Yoga and pilates are both forms of exercise that are good for pregnancy. Pilates in particular strengthens important baby-birthing muscles and can be done throughout the pregnancy.
10. Pilates reminds you to breathe. Like yoga, there is a huge emphasis on the breath in pilates. In fact, you can’t get through some of the tougher pilates exercises without using the right breath. Remembering to breathe is a way of bringing yourself right into the moment which has numerous benefits that you can carry with you throughout the day.
As you can see, I’m a fan of both yoga and pilates for a lot of the same reasons. Ultimately I’ve come to like pilates more because I think it’s a better workout with more targeted results but I definitely think that an exercise routine that combines both is a really good way to go.
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