Founded in the 1920s by physical trainer Joseph Pilates for rehabilitation purposes, Pilates’ first participants were injured dancers and soldiers returning from war. The original routines were designed to heal aches and pains and rehabilitate the body, restoring function and strength. The basic elements of practicing Pilates have remained unchanged since its inception. Therefore, if you attend a modern Pilates class, wearing your best workout leggings, your experience will be similar to the original sessions of the 1920s.
What is Pilates?
Before looking at the many benefits of this form of exercise, it’s important to define it properly. Pilates consists of sustained exercises, slow movement, focused purposeful breathing, and abdominal control. In Pilates, your posture or “doing the pose correctly” is much more important than the number of repetitions of said movement. The whole concept of Pilates is hyper-focused on breathing and self-awareness.
The Benefits of Pilates
Now, let’s look at what makes Pilates a suburb workout:
Although experts agree that some other cardio-intensive workouts can burn more calories than Pilates, it is still a proven way to change body composition through the caloric burn. A US National Library of Medicine study found Pilates had a positive effect on body composition. The number of calories you can expect to burn during a session, though, will depend on your current weight and the level of difficulty of your class. If you take an advanced 50-minute class, you can expect to burn 254 calories. (This estimation is based on a 150 lb individual).
Perhaps more than any other area of the body, Pilates really attacks your core or powerhouse area, building seriously impressive strength. A strong core is immensely important, not just for aesthetic reasons, such as a flat stomach, but also because your core directly affects your pelvic area, hips, and back muscles. In fact, your core directly affects virtually your entire body, serving as the foundation upon which all other muscles, movement, and strength are built. A strong well-formed core will not only help you look great in activewear leggings, it will also make exercising and even completing everyday tasks easier. Pilates targets this area of your body because it is an exercise built on drawing power from within.
Joseph Pilates once said, “True flexibility can be achieved only when all muscles are uniformly developed.” While you might say you aren’t flexible enough for Pilates, in actuality, you should practice Pilates in order to create the flexibility you desire.
Promotes Strength, Without Building Bulky Muscle
The “Pilates body” is toned, long, and lean. It is not comprised of bulky muscles. This is because all Pilates postures are created to stretch and elongate your muscles. Therefore, you don’t have to fear “bulking up” when practicing Pilates.
It’s Challenging, Yet Gentle
While some positions or postures include sitting or reclining positions, you will get a challenging, heart-pumping workout with Pilates. However, it will be low impact and will not pressure your joints. Therefore, Pilates is, in fact, both challenging and low-impact simultaneously.
Grab your cute workout leggings and sign up for your local Pilates class, or practice at home, to positively impact your overall body composition and appearance.