There are many benefits to the regular practise of Pilates, more in fact, than you may be aware of. Because Pilates focuses on core strength, stability, posture, mobility and flexibility, the health benefits can be quite varied.
Here are just a few:
Pilates will allow you to improve your posture, and maintain this throughout your day to day life. Having good posture is an important part of protecting the body and the spine from injury and discomfort, aiding the reduction in back and neck pain, which can also reduce the occurence of headaches, and even stomach aches.
The exercises used within Pilates require you to align the body correctly, and this can be beneficial for many forms of injuries, aches or muscular imbalances, including back, hip and knee pain.
Many of the exercises involve the use of muscles that may not be used regularly on a daily basis, especially in the elderly or sedentary person. By working with these muscles in your Pilates practise, you will enable a stronger and more stable level of mobility.
This could help prevent injury, imbalance, falls and the degeneration of muscles.
Strong muscles result in strong bodies!
Although flexibility may not rate highly on your list of things to achieve, it can help your body deal with other things that you do on a day to day basis.
As we age, we lose flexibility and our muscles grow shorter in response to our lifestyle choices. Pilates will help to restore some of this flexibility gently, which will further reduce the risk of injury, imbalance and falls.
Whilst Yoga is renowned for being the best way to improve flexibility, Pilates can be more effective for some people. Rather than using static poses, pilates focuses on the movement of stretching, allowing the muscles to warm as they move, which will lead to an improved blood flow.
Exercise releases endorphins, regardless of the level of intensity or impact, and Pilates is no different. However, Pilates is all about control of the body and mind, so during your practise, you should be focussing on breath and movement and not other day to day responsibilities.
The focus on your breath helps you to become more mindful and aware, it's almost meditative.
In addition, the reduction in pain and discomfort experienced from Pilates will also aid the reduced feeling of stress both physically and mentally.
Through the practise of mind-body connection which is taught in Pilates, you will become more aware of how your body moves, feels and performs. Therefore Pilates will not only improve your physical balance through better strength and stability in your body, but also will help to restore the mind-body balance too.
Because Pilates focusses on strengthening the muscles of the body, it can help you to tone and shape areas of your body, especially your arms, legs, buttocks and of course, your abdomen.
Although, it is important to remember that Pilates is not an aerobic or high intensity workout, so combining your Pilates practise with a healthy diet and some form of regular aerobic activity like walking, swimming or cycling, will increase the results that you experience.
Because Pilates focusses on the Mind-Body connection, regular practise will lead to a greater sense of well-being within the mind and body.
During Pilates practise, a lot of focus and attention goes into your breathing patterns and this can help to improve blood circulation through the body. With strong, deeper breathes, blood is better able to deliver oxygen to the appropriate muscles and organs, which can aid in the removal of toxins, whilst providing a fresh and invogorating energy that will help muscles to recover following your practise.