Core strengthening and flexibility have become a major trend in sports training and in rehabilitation. The term has been used to connote lumbar stabilization, motor control training, and other regimens. Core strengthening is, in essence, a description of the muscular control required around the lumbar spine to maintain functional stability. Pilates helps achieve core strength, individuals need to involve all those forces. Although traditional crunches and back extensions help to develop core strength, core competency exercises often involve balance as well and, therefore, demand the efforts of many muscles to work synergistically. Many Pilates workouts aim to integrate all these qualities and therefore the focus is as a neurological exercise rather than developing absolute strength.
What does Pilates mean?
Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on strengthening the body with a special emphasis on the core muscles. Pilates for weight loss concentrates on flexibility, balance, strength and posture for general fitness and overall well-being. The core focus in a Pilates workout is good and safe exercise technique and maintaining good form.
Why is Pilates Important?
Pilates is a beautiful form of exercise as it has the ability to stretch and strengthen- both at the same time, which makes it an ideal workout.
Types of Pilates
The main two main classifications of Pilates are
- Classical Pilates
- Contemporary Pilates.
Both these types really complement each other. Classical pilates workout involves the use of a mat whereas Contemporary Pilates involves the use of modern equipment such as resistance bands, Yoga block, a small ball, a large ball and so many other pieces of equipment. Adding a piece of equipment can help in making an exercise more challenging. In addition to this, more exercise variations can be added to an exercise. One popular equipment to perform Pilates is the "Reformer" and the exercise is called Reform Pilates.
Pilates exercises to fit into your day-to-day life
The Pilates mat series of exercises involves approximately 25 essential (beginning) exercises that can all be completed using no equipment other than a floor mat. Pilates class involve the following exercises -
- Ab Prep
- Breast stroke prep
- Half Roll back
- Leg Pull Front.
- Rolling like a ball
- Spine twist
The same sequence of exercises and approximately the same number of repetitions of each exercise were performed in each class. These exercises form a major component of a Pilates at Home module and can be easily performed at home.
Benefits of Pilates
- Weight Loss
Research has, time and again, shown the effectiveness of Pilates for weight loss.
- Muscle strengthening
Pilates, when performed religiously, leads to muscle gain and muscle strengthening.
- Better awareness
Pilates focuses on the mind-body connection. It requires deep awareness, as your mind should know of your breathing and body movement.
- Improves endurance
If practiced consistently, pilates exercise improves endurance and develops control in the entire body.
- Other benefits
Pilates has the ability to flatten the stomach as well as tighten the thighs and buttocks. It improves body posture and has the capability of improving bone density. blood pressure readings and even control cholesterol levels. It can tighten up every muscle in the body to make you strong without adding more bulk. Last but not the least; one also experiences a great improvement in one's sex life.
Disadvantages of Pilates
- Pilates skips out on cardio, so it doesnt help in warming up the body properly before toning it.
- Pilates classes can be expensive, therefore have the participation of only an exclusive group.
- Pilates is not a high energy workout.
- It does not produce the same results as weight lifting.
Dos and Don'ts of Pilates
- Check your body posture- engage your core properly.
- Wear the right clothes
- Understand the equipment well before using it
- Use a clean and non-slippery mat.
- Always keep water with you.
- Dont rush. Set your posture properly and only then move ahead. That would also ensure an injury-free workout.
- Dont say that you cant. Never give up. The idea of Pilates is to tell you to challenge yourself each time you do it. So dont let give up be an option.
- Dont expect a dramatic change. Progress happens slowly. It is not something that can be quick and immediate. So, be patient.
- Dont rush to an advanced level. It will take you consistency and practice. Give it time.
What to eat after Pilates?
Pilates requires utmost concentration. Hence, the body requires high amounts of energy after a Pilates Workout. To refuel the body, practitioners should eat a protein rich shake or a smoothie. This can contain all the essential nutrients in shake form.Some of the foods to put in the smoothie are banana, almond butter, protein powder, Cacao nibs, Chia Seeds, Almond milk, Fresh Mint, Flaxseed oil and mixed berries.
Is it effective to do Pilates at home?
Pilates exercises can be performed at home. Pilates routine is being followed at home by thousands of practitioners across the world. However, it is recommended that Pilates is done in the classroom under the guidance of a certified Pilates teacher. This would ensure an effective and injury free workout.
What to do post Pilates?
A Pilates class means investing a lot of focus and energy. One of the first things to do after a Pilates class is to hydrate the body. The next thing is to refuel the body with the right mix of healthy carbs and protein. A smoothie is a good option to help with that. Taking a cool shower to help release muscle tension and avoid inflammation is a good idea. Giving yourself enough rest to recover and replenish the body is another important post recovery suggestion.
What is the right age to do Pilates?
Pilates or Body Contrology is a form of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels. This means that on one hand, where it is ideal is an ideal workout for teenagers; on the other hand it is an effective workout for old people.
What are the equipment & accessories required for doing Pilates?
Classical Pilates requires the use of just a mat, which is the basic requirement for any Pilates learner. In addition to this, one may use resistance bands, Yoga blocks, a small ball, a large ball and many other pieces of equipment. A "Reformer" is used for reform Pilates.