If you’re looking for a total body workout that helps strengthen and tone, look no further than Pilates. It’s been around since the 1920s, and it’s definitely not going anywhere anytime soon. So, if you’ve been meaning to get back on your Pilates mat lately, we’re giving you five good reasons to grab your leggings, pull out your mat, and give Pilates a try. These five Pilates benefits totally gave us the motivation we needed to get back on our mats.
A Little Pilates History Lesson
But first, here’s a little background on how Pilates came about.
Pilates is more than a fitness craze — it has a history of its own that dates back to the 1920s. German-born Joseph Pilates developed a conditioning method to rehabilitate injured patients during his time in the first World War. Then, in the blink of an eye, his rehabilitation work caught on with the dancer community as a way to prevent injury altogether through stretching and a key focus on form.
Fast forward to today, nearly 100 years later, Pilates is still a common practice within the fitness community. So, what are the actual benefits of Pilates? Here are our favorite top five reasons you should get back on the mat.
5 Benefits of Pilates That Are Just Too Good To Ignore
#1 It’s A Full Body Workout
Perhaps the easiest benefit of Pilates is that, unless you prefer a reformer, a mat is all you need to get a full-body workout in. Working through the motions of Pilates on the mat draws greater attention to form, flexibility, and core strength utilizing the simplicity of our own body weight.
Plus, by ridding the need for any extra equipment, Pilates allows us to focus on ourselves more intuitively. Using our own weight for resistance, it’s easy to understand where we can push a little more or when we should go a little softer. Remember, this form of exercise isn’t about muscle bulk but rather about building overall muscle strength.
#2 It’s Mindful Movement
Pilates benefits soar when it comes to hyper-focused movement. Using pulsating motions, it sculpts muscles in a way that targets parts of our body we might’ve forgotten were even there — muscles both large and small. Unlike other workouts, where we’re just moving through the motions of arms, legs, booty, abs, etc., Pilates creates a flow of motion. That flow requires a deep concentration in order to maintain the various positions.
The good news is that, because of the smaller, targeted movements, there is plenty of room for modification. That makes Pilates an accommodating exercise for people of various abilities and levels of fitness.
#3 It Targets Your Core
Another benefit of Pilates is its deep core activation that increases overall core strength. When we focus on strengthening our midsection, you may notice:
- Improved balance
- Less back pain
- Better posture
We aren’t talking about sit-ups. Pilates uses the core as a foundation, acting as an anchor to every position. In being cognizant of every move, Pilates combines deep breath and core strength to better protect our bodies from potential injury and ensure each motion is done correctly. This is an exercise about precision.
#4 It Connects Mind And Body
Similar to yoga, Pilates places a special emphasis on connecting the mind and body (an added Pilates benefit.) Pilates is about muscle relaxation and small movement. Without the use of external equipment, Pilates forces us to do the following;
- Concentrate on a flow of movement
- Focus on breathing techniques
- Have a heightened awareness of the entire body
Additionally, Pilates breathing techniques help stabilize overall movement, stemming from our trunk muscles (torso muscles).
#5 It Improves Flexibility
Studies suggest that one of the greatest benefits of Pilates is the way it improves flexibility. But flexibility acts as a gateway to other benefits as well. When we are more flexible, we are less prone to injury, and it may help improve our range of motion.
Sprinkle Some Pilates Into Your Current Fitness Routine
Ready to add some more Pilates into your life? Try adding a few Pilates workouts into your current fitness routine with a good mix of aerobic, strength, and active recovery days to create that healthy fitness balance that also adds variety to our workout routine.
To get yourself started, or continue your practice, experience the benefits of Pilates with award-winning trainer Cassey Ho. Whether you’re in a time crunch or are looking for a full Pilates session, there’s a class for everyone. So, grab your mat, pick your class, and press play now.