To keep my body strong and in good shape I do regular Pilates classes. This has given me great results so I thought I would use this post to show you all how to incorporate the various Pilates techniques I have learned into your life so you can have a strong and toned body.
Pilates is essentially aimed at strengthening your core or‘centre’ and increasing body awareness. It allows you to move your body freely with control and precision, encouraging flexibility in the joints and muscles while teaching the body to elongate and move with each rhythm. It is also beneficial in protecting the lower back from injury and pain.
One of the things I like the most is that unlike pumping weights which gives you muscle bulk, Pilates gives you long lean muscle tone. We tend to see this physique more in gymnasts and dancers who still need to be strong but also have to keep their bodies small and lean.
Pilates has exercises ranging in intensity from Beginner to Advanced. Like any exercise the more you do the better you will get and therefore you can move through to the more advanced exercises with time. Unlike working out at the gym Pilates is all about doing controlled, precise movements slowly and with form and not about doing as many reps as you can.
So whether you are an athlete, office worker, weekend warrior or a housewife, Pilates can have a place in your exercise regime to either keep your body performing at its best or to help you improve your body so that you can do everyday tasks with more freedom and movement.
Where to start…. I think today I will concentrate on making sure you are all going to be doing your exercises safely in the correct environment with the right equipment and then next week I will start with a Beginner Strengthening Exercise.
One of the great things about Pilates is that you can achieve really good results with minimal hi-tech equipment and expensive memberships. To get started you will need comfortable close fitting clothes, a close fit allows you to see your muscles working and keeps free-flowing fabric from impeding your movement. Avoid clothing with buckles--you don’t want to feel metal digging into your back as you roll up or over. For women, a sports bra or athletic top with built in support is much more comfortable than a regular bra with hook closures at the back. Pilates is generally done barefoot or you can get Pilates socks which have nonslip soles that will keep you from sliding on the mat or floor.
Find a space where you can stretch out. You can use a workout mat which is readily available at most sports stores or you can also work out on thick carpet or towel. Protecting the spine is the key, so make sure whatever surface you choose is thick enough to cushion and support the vertebrae.
That is all you really need to get started so I will see you next week for our first Pilates Strengthening Exercise.
That is me done for this week. I will see you next time.