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Beginning a new exercise program can be overwhelming. There is so much choice and variety, but not a lot of information about different programs and what works for different bodies.
Crossfit, yoga, spin class, body pump- just to name a few. What’s a fad, and what will actually benefit your body?
How is Pilates different to the rest?
Pilates is a series of controlled, isolated movements that looks to lengthen and strengthen the muscles of the body. Pilates typically focuses on your ‘core’ abdominals. Your core is not just your ‘6 pack’ it’s the muscles that attach to the trunk of the body (your spine and pelvis) and includes abdominals, glutes and erector spinae (back) muscles.
The idea is to strengthen these trunk muscles to improve your posture and mobility so that your limbs move more effectively.
In a gym setting, you would typically work your global muscles (like quadriceps in your legs) or deltoids (in your shoulders). While this is great strength training, in terms of improving posture and spinal mobility, we need to focus on the intrinsic muscles- which is where Pilates is better.
Pilates is also one of the only forms of exercise that compliments other training. For example if you are a runner, you could combine Pilates training to assist with recovery and to strengthen your gluteal (bum) muscles, which will improve your running. This principle can then also be applied to a variety of other sports or activities
In fact, studies have shown that for those who attended two 45 minute Pilates training sessions a week – after 8 weeks their flexibility and lumbo-pelvic stability had improved significantly. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov Asian J Sports Med 2011)
Pilates exercises are also easily adapted to a variety of levels and capabilities. Pilates can be safely performed pre and post pregnancy and post surgery (clinical Pilates). As well as this, Pilates is supervised by a trained practitioner, meaning you know you are performing each exercise safely – something that lacks in a typical gym setting.
A concern from many clients is that they believe they aren’t flexible and can’t do Pilates. But that is exactly why we come to Pilates, to increase our flexibility and to improve our posture. You don’t need to be flexible or strong to start, you just need to have the desire to improve.
If you have a pre existing injury, we recommend you chat to your practitioner before commencing a Pilates program, because in that instance clinical may be more beneficial to you (clinical is supervised by a physio and is rehabilitation based).
Your first Pilates Fit class is free, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!
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