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What is Pilates? Benefits of Pilates exercises

Updated on March 22, 2016

What is Pilates? Benefits of Pilates exercises

Pilates is a form of physical exercise popular in the western world. It is similar to Yoga which is widely practiced in the Oriental world, especially India. Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates of Germany in the 20th century. The six principles of Pilates are concentration, control, center, flow, precision and breathing. Like Yoga, movements in Pilates have different names like Elephant, Swan etc. Pilates helps to provide flexibility to the body and increases muscle strength. Your core muscles get strengthened with these exercises. In Pilates, you will be using you own body weight instead of weights. It also improves blood circulation and helps detoxify and reinvigorate the body.

Pilates doesn’t require any special equipment. All you need is a mat and a comfortable space to do the exercise.

Benefits of Pilates:


1. Improved Flexibility: Pilates exercises have a wide range of motions and work on the entire body to provide better flexibility

2. Improved Breathing: Pilates consists of a sustained series of movements using abdominal control and breathing. Efficient breathing allows adequate oxygen flow to muscles

3. Strong Core and Abdominal muscles: Core strength is important for the body. Core muscles are the internal muscles of the abdomen and back and form the foundation for body strength. They are like the Trunk of a tree. Pilates works on core muscles, thereby providing a strong, flexible and injury-free body

4. Weight Loss: Pilates increases intensity and muscle endurance. It increases fat metabolism and helps attain a lean muscle mass and slim body figure.

5. Increased Muscle Strength: Pilates improves muscle strength, especially of the abdomen, lower back, thighs and Glutes. It also helps achieve a lean muscle mass

6. Improved Posture: A better posture or alignment is important for musculoskeletal strength and to prevent back and join pain. Doing Pilates will provide you an improved posture.

7. Reduce stress: Pilates helps you calm down. As it focuses on breathing, one becomes mindful of his/her body and soul. It almost becomes a form of meditation

Beneficial for Diabetes: Research studies have proven that resistance training can control blood sugar levels. It is particularly beneficial for persons with Type-2 diabetes.

Good for Women: Women can benefit a lot from Pilates. Pilates strengthens the pelvic muscles and helps during childbirth and post partum recovery. It is helpful for women who have attained menopause. Pilates helps reduce depression, stress, mood swings and other symptoms experienced during menopause.

Relieves pain: Pilates is helpful for people who have chronic back pain. It also strengthens the knee joints and prevents Arthritis. It improves the overall flexibility of the body

Who can do Pilates? Anyone can do Pilates exercises. Pilates involves specific movements and breathing techniques. It can be quite demanding when you initially start doing the exercises. Please check with your doctor if you have high blood pressure, cholesterol or heart disease. You must be careful if you have back or knee injuries.

You can start doing Pilates today. You can get instructions from a qualified Pilates teacher. If you are unable to get direct training from an instructor, there are many books and DVDs available on the market which you can avail.

Below are some Basic Pilates Workouts:

Roll over: Roll over is a simple but powerful exercise. All that you need for the exercise is a Mat. Roll over is all about flexibility and control. It strengthens your core muscles, especially the abdomen. Do a proper Warm up before the exercise in order to prevent muscle strain or injuries.

Roll up: Like the Roll over, it’s targeted at the abdominal muscles. Doing a single Pilates Roll up is equal to doing 6 Situps. It is much effective for getting six pack abs than mindlessly doing ab crunches

Hundreds: Another excellent workout for the abdominal muscles and for torso stability. It also works on the upper back and legs. It improves blood flow and increases the heart rate.

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