After a hard day’s work, sometimes heading to the gym for a big sweaty workout session can seem like the last thing you feel like doing. Thank goodness for pilates then. You can roll out your mat at home and in as little as 20 minutes feel stronger, rejuvenated and more relaxed. You don’t need any expensive equipment and you don’t need to be a celebrity to do it either!
1. It’s a simple way to send stress packing
I recently surveyed my long standing clients who shared that just one hour of pilates a week left them feeling less stressed and more energised afterwards. Pilates has a magical quality to it; it will bring your body and your mind together from the minute you step onto your mat and leave them talking long after a session. Breathing, relaxing and flowing movements all help to calm the nervous system, lower your stress levels and focus your mind.
Not only that, my pilates community are incredibly fun to be around so spending any amount of time with them is guaranteed to lift your spirits.
2. It future proofs your body
Start it before you have any aches and pains like in your low back, and you stand to reap the benefits of the practice long term; core strength, flexibility, balance and better posture are just a few of the pay outs of a consistent practice. A low impact form of exercise, it targets your bones and joints moving them in a healthy way that keeps them mobile, well oiled and helps maintain bone strength which can help protect proactively against things like osteoporosis.
3. Anyone can do it
One of my most favourite things about pilates is that it is a non competitive form of exercise that any body can do AND reap the benefits. It is gentle and kind on the body but still has the ability to leave you feeling like you have worked out. I teach a whole variety of classes and people, shapes and sizes. From foundational beginner sessions (i have one kicking off on Monday 11 May – just FYI), that focus on teaching you the all important basics of the method, to more conditioning based dynamic reformer sessions, to junior pilates, pre and post natal and silver swans; there is something for every body at every stage of their life so don’t be fooled into thinking pilates is only for the instagram generation – it’s a lot more than fancy inversions and the ability to bend over and touch your toes!
4. No poor posture here folks
Pilates is used by everyone from athletes, to celebrities, to those chained to their desk 24/7 because of its ability to develop strengthen and correct posture in the key areas of the hips/lower back, upper back and neck. Basically counteracting the effects of slouching.
Typically in a class I’ll look to focus on areas effected by sitting all day in C position (aka the rather unattractive ‘hunched back’). A session will see me targeting and releasing overactive areas of the chest, shoulders, upper back and hip flexor muscles as well as activating and strengthening your bum, abs and shoulder stabilisers.
Muscles are worked in isolation and then more dynamically in a functional way (how they were designed to be used in daily life). This all helps with training dynamic stability, which is the body’s ability to hold itself in good alignment and an upright posture for longer periods of time. This is important because it means your body can respond to the demands placed on it in faster and in safer ways (that means your less likely to incur wear and tear injuries by the way – see point 2 above).
5. It’s a no fuss way to exercise
Like i said at the start, you can roll out your mat at home and you don’t need any expensive equipment. Technically you don’t even need a mat as long as you have something soft to lie on to protect your back!
Comfortable joggie bottoms or leggings and some water to sip on and your good to pilates!