The Power of Pilates

Antoinettes Yoga Garden

It’s a word that’s tossed around in the fitness world quite a bit, but could be intimidating if you’ve never tried it before: Pilates. The choice of top athletes and celebrities for achieving a strong, fit and toned body-it’s one workout that has stood the test of time and helped countless people get the body they’ve always dreamed of. What is Pilates, and how can it benefit you?

What is Pilates?
Pilates was created in the 1920’s by founder Joseph Pilates. It’s a series of movements designed build strength, improve flexibility and help people recover from injuries. Some of the movements are designed to be done with a special apparatus and some can be done using the body’s own resistance on a floor mat. Pilates instructors are specially trained to be able to help students through the movements using proper form and technique.

What Are the Benefits?
When done correctly and consistently, Pilates offers a host of benefits. Your body will appear leaner and longer, and your muscles will have noticeable tone and definition without looking bulky. Many athletes in other sports find Pilates to be a useful tool in helping them enhance their performance in their sport. Adding Pilates to a training regimen helps athletes build up weaker muscles, improve breathing techniques, and increase balance and coordination.

Another benefit of Pilates is that it offers a challenge, whether you’ve been doing it for a few weeks or a few years. The movements build on themselves, so as you get stronger and more knowledgeable, you are able to do more. Once you’ve mastered the skills at your level, you can move on to the next, so you will never be bored or feel stagnant.

A big focus of Pilates moves is strengthening the core. You will find that you have stronger, more defined abdominals, and a stronger back. Anyone with chronic back pain may find that Pilates helps by improving muscle strength and relieving pain and pressure on the spine and in the shoulders.

Many people who do Pilates also find that it helps their mental outlook as well. It’s a great stress reliever, plus it can help you feel more balanced and centered. Many Pilates enthusiasts also feel it helps improve their confidence, gives them a sense of power, and helps them feel a greater sense of inner peace.

How Do I Get Started?
The best way to get going in Pilates is to find a class taught by a reputable instructor, or to join a gym or studio that offers Pilates. There are some DVD’s that will take you through the basics of Pilates in your own home. The advantages of taking a class is that you get to experience the support of a group of people with similar goals: a healthier, stronger, more toned body that looks younger and feels better from head to toe.

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