what is pilates?

Pilates: What it is, Benefits and Tips

While many people think of the gym as the only option for exercising and catching up on health, there are many other ways to progress on your fitness journey. In this sense, you must choose an activity you like, so we will bring you another exercise option to complement our fitness articles.

In this article, you will understand what Pilates are, its benefits, and other tips that will help you know if Pilates is for you. Are you ready? Let’s get down to business!

Read other fitness articles below:

What is Pilates?

In a nutshell, Pilates is a low-impact full-body exercise. Although Pilates exercises tend to focus more on developing core strength, there are still moves that work the upper body – back and arms, mainly – and the lower body.

That’s why you must talk to your Pilates Instructor to understand what your class will be like and which muscles will be worked on – especially if you’re a beginner.

If you are in pain or are coming from a long sedentary lifestyle, it is also essential that you talk to your doctor to understand if Pilates is a good thing for you.

Benefits of Pilates

There are many myths about pilates benefits. Although there is evidence that Pilates improves your posture and promotes other health benefits, there is still much to be explored by science in this field.

Several pilates articles out there show 10 or 15 benefits of this practice, and still, when comparing the references used, it is difficult to find something conclusive. Therefore, in this article, you will discover benefits verified by relevant international studies, which have been widely cited.

1. Improves your Flexibility and Muscle Endurance

This study shows it’s possible to improve your muscle endurance and flexibility with low-intensity Pilates exercises that don’t require any equipment or a pre-existing skill.

In this research, 50 middle-aged men and women were submitted to two Pilates classes per week, lasting 1 hour each, for three months. At the end of the experiment, there were statistically significant increases in abdominal endurance, lower body muscle flexibility and upper body muscular endurance.

2. Improves your Mood and Self-Efficacy

In this study, college-age individuals took Pilates and taijiquan classes (a Chinese martial art) so that scientists could investigate improvements in self-efficacy perception, sleep quality, mood, strength and balance.

Although there were no improvements in sleep quality, strength and balance, there was a significant improvement in self-efficacy and mood in the Pilates group.

3. It Can Reduce Lower Back Pain

In this other study, 39 participants attended three different Pilates regimens, with a home workout program focused on mild and chronic low back pain. All three groups experienced statistically significant reductions in the frequency, intensity and duration of low back pain.

A second study published in 2014 also supports the practice of Pilates exercises as an excellent tool to reduce pain and improve functional ability in people with chronic lower back pain.

4. A Strong Core Improves Balance, Stability and Posture

Science still needs to explore the real benefits promoted by pilates exercises, as it is a practice that has become a trend recently.

In any case, it is possible to make an association between Pilates and improvements in balance, stability and posture, because, initially, strengthening the core is the main focus of Pilates.

In this sense, having a strong core provides a healthy back, improved performance in sports and physical activities, better balance, stability and posture.

Equipment for Pilates

One of the advantages of Pilates is that you will need very little equipment to get started – especially if you are a beginner. Some of them are:

Pilates Mats

You will need a pilates mat, and it is recommended that you choose one that is not too thin to avoid joint or back pain while practising.

Pilates Bands or Resistance Bands

If you’re just getting started, you probably won’t need resistance bands right away. They will help you increase the difficulty of pilates exercises as you progress through your workout.

Magic Circle

This is another piece of equipment that will help increase the resistance and difficulty of your Pilates workouts. It’s another secondary material and, most of the time, there are specific classes for this equipment, so don’t worry about buying it if you’re a beginner – unless recommended by your instructor.

Yoga Vs Pilates: What’s the Difference?

Although both focus on low-impact exercises with breathing techniques, it can be said that yoga has a greater focus on rhythmic movements, which promote gains in balance and flexibility – in addition to mindfulness.

Pilates, in turn, works with slow movements, with a greater focus on developing core strength and stability. Also, Pilates classes tend to be a little faster paced compared to yoga classes.

Therefore, if you are looking to develop your flexibility and connection between body and mind, yoga seems to be the best choice. Pilates seems to be a more suitable choice if you want to work on developing strength and are not focused on mindfulness.

Talk to your instructor to understand what the focus of the class will be and be concerned about progress over time!

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