Pilates is the new buzzword in fitness. You must have heard your favourite celebrities practising Pilates to get that killer body. For the uninitiated, Pilates is a system of exercises with the use of certain special apparatus that improves strength, posture, flexibility and also enhances mental awareness. Here are the reasons why you must include Pilates into your fitness plans:
- Strengthens the core: Pilates targets abdominal muscles, obliques as well as deep abdominal muscles such as the traverse abdominis and rectus abdomnis to build abs. It also tones the hip and pelvic muscles. A strong core lets you carry heavy items easily.
- Improves bone density: Strength training is known to build bone density. Bone is a dynamic tissue that responds to weight-bearing and resistance exercises. Resistance exercises using apparatus springs and resistance bands performed during Pilates have been shown to increase bone density and mobility in the joints.
- Aids in weight loss: According to a study by Michelle Oslon, Ph. D. Of Auburn University in Montogomery, Ala, depending on intensity, practicing pilates burns four to eight calories per minute. Doing 45 to 60 minutes of Pilates at least four days a week will keep your weight in check. It also gives you a leaner and tones body you have always craved for.
- Eases back pain: Apart from strengthening the core, Pilates helps in proper alignment of the back muscles. It also offers gentle stretching of the tight back muscles that have got misaligned. At the same time, Pilates also checks underlying imbalances that are a common cause of poor posture and back pain. A study showed that Pilate’s exercises have a positive effect on spinal alignment.
- Prevention of injuries: Regular practice of Pilates increases strength, flexibility and also improves balance. All these factors go a long way in preventing injuries. Increase in strength leads to enhanced dynamic control over body movements and helps in keeping injuries at bay. Pilates also paves way for efficient movement patterns that reduce stress of ligaments, tendons and joints. People who practice Pilates on a stability ball feel a better physical coordination and better body balance.
- Enhanced flexibility: Unlike other exercise forms, Pilates concentrates on body movement in several planes. When these additional planes of motion are worked upon, the body becomes more flexible.
- Improved posture: Poor posture caused conditions like neck ache, back ache and headache in the long run. A good posture, on the other hand, keeps the spine healthy, aids in digestion and allows you to breathe properly. Better muscle symmetry and balance achieved as a result of regular Pilates gives you a better posture as well. Pilates exercises like Plank Pose, Roll Up, Pelvic Curls etc. are specially beneficial in this regard.
- Improvement in mental health: Like most other forms of exercise, Pilates too relaxes the body and the mind. Focus and concentration enforce better mind body coordination. Deep breathing during Pilates ensures correct blood flow and helps with sleep as well. The endorphins released using this exercise lead to a positive and happy feeling.