When I started practicing Pilates over 16 years ago, I was not a person who liked to exercise, I was the person who knew you should, but hated it. Yep! I tried everything. Going it on my own at the weight bench, hiring a personal trainer, taking classes, nothing seemed to stick for very long. I was hopelessly uncoordinated when it came to fast moving choreographed exercise (kickboxing or step classes), Boot camps left me feeling too sore for days and my discipline wavered when left to my own devices (weight machines etc.) I didn't feel at home anywhere, then I unknowingly walked into a Pilates Mat class and I was stunned. I could do it. I could follow along without feeling clumsy. I felt a good sore in all the right places, and there was no intimidation. I found my exercise. I was no longer the girl who was bored easily and felt lost in a gym. I was home. If you're on the fence about whether or not Pilates is for you, here's 5 reasons why Pilates is for everyone serious about not only their strength but there overall health:
- One of the 6 Principles of Pilates is 'Concentration'. This has given Pilates the title of the “thinking person’s exercise.” Pilates not only challenges your body it challenges your brain. Efficiency of movement and quality over quantity are key in your Pilates practice. You need to be 100% present to get the full benefit of your workout; tapping into muscles you didn’t even know you had. Challenging you with moves that stimulate your coordination as well as your physical body.
- You use Pilates in every aspect of your physical life. From putting groceries into the car to picking up your toddler, it brings a mindfulness and balance to your movement that will have you standing taller and walking straighter. Athletic activities are performed with more ease. Runners run faster, cyclists feel more endurance and balance, golfers improve their swing. Even cleaning the house feels like less effort.
- Pilates assists in therapeutic healing from an injury and strengthens muscles around joints to prevent injuries from happening. It's used in Physical Therapy offices across the nation for rehab and used by professional athletes to reduce the incidents of injury.
- Pilates protects the back! 9 out of 10 adults experience back pain at some point in their life and 5 of those 10 experience it regularly. Pilates strengthens the core muscles surrounding the spine, protecting it from common rotation injuries. Many of the exercises are focused on articulation of the spine, lengthening the space between the vertebrae and counteracting the compression caused by sitting or standing for long periods of time.
- When you stop doing it, your body will miss it. I've stopped my Pilates practice twice over the past 16 years due to injury. Both times I was in so much pain, the mere thought of doing a simple roll-up brought tears to my eyes. During the first few weeks of rehabilitation when I couldn't practice my Pilates, I missed it, not only mentally, but physically. When I returned to my practice after healing it was like coming home. This is a very common feeling among my clients as well. Your body will love Pilates and when you return to it, it will thank you with that Rock Star strength that only Pilates can provide.
I've found that fitness trends come and go, but having a common thread of Pilates throughout your life will give you strength, endurance and longevity in your body that you will not experience through other forms of trend exercise. In fact, continuing your Pilates practice along side whatever fitness craze has caught your attention will only enhance that experience as well. Love Pilates.