You’ve probably heard the term, but if you aren’t sure just what it is, Pilates is a form of exercise that was developed by Joseph Pilates over 100 years ago that combines systems from yoga and the martial arts. It emphasizes balanced development of the body by improving core strength and flexibility, as well as focusing on awareness to support more efficient movement. If you haven’t tried this exercise yet, here are 3 reasons you should consider checking it out.
Building a strong core
Pilates is one of the best exercises for strengthening the core. Practically every motion you make requires using your core, from bending to put on your shoes to reaching for an item off the grocery store shelf and even simply standing still. Simple tasks such as putting on your clothes or taking a bath also require a strong, flexible core. A weak or inflexible core can impair mobility, while a strong core enhances balance and stability which can prevent falls and other injuries.
A better core ultimately leads to better posture, which can make you look trimmer and feel more self-confident. For those who participate in all types of sports, a stronger core will help improve your performance, as well. Pilates can be the key to building a strong foundation for athletes of all types and is considered an excellent cross-training exercise.
Practicing Pilates can help prevent back pain, which is a common debilitating and sometimes excruciating problem that affects four out of five Americans during their lifetime. For athletes and all active people, it’s been proven to prevent a wide variety of injuries by strengthening the core and teaching the body to perform more efficiently while elongating and strengthening muscles to promote balance and flexibility. Pilates also promotes muscle elasticity as well as joint mobility, which can lessen the chance of injury.
Look and feel better on the inside and out
The list of celebrities who practice Pilates is extensive. From Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus to Madonna, Gisele Bundchen, Megan Fox to NBA superstars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and a host of other professional athletes as well as Hollywood stars. There is a good reason for this – Pilates does a lot more than build core strength and prevent injury. It can enhance athletic performance, boost self-esteem and even heighten concentration.
Better awareness and focus can carry over into everyday life, even improving the skills needed to do your job well. The constant focus on torso stability and control can result in strong, flat abdominal muscles that so many of us covet. Have you ever wondered how some actors and models seem to have such long, lean muscles?
While genetics certainly plays a part, it can also come from practicing Pilates; balancing strength with flexibility promotes a long lean look that allows your body to move with grace and ease.
If you’d like to try it but can’t afford classes, or would rather check it out on your own first, there are lots of excellent Pilates videos available on DVD as well as online. Get familiar with the core concepts – and the odds are you’ll be hooked and feeling better in no time!
-The Alternative Daily