Pilates is a method of exercise that helps restore and realign the natural curves of the spine. With a focus on core stability, muscle control, and strength, Pilates helps improve posture and movement patterns. The exercises, coupled with focused breathing, are designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. Learning the skill of Pilates helps promote relaxation and mind/body awareness. It is not just a valuable method of exercise, but also supports physical rehabilitation of all kinds and enhances sports performance. Pilates exercises tone, strengthen, and lengthen muscles.
There are so many benefits to Pilates, such as:
- Lengthens muscles, improving flexibility
- Enhances balance, coordination and circulation
- Can be done with no impact so is gentle on joints (hips and knees)
- Helps prevent and rehabilitate injuries
- Improves sports performance (golf, tennis, running)
- Increases the mobility of the spine and joints
- Brings awareness to posture and helps realign the body
- Can reduce back pain by strengthening core muscles (abdominals and back)
- Teaches you to use more stabilizing muscle groups to prevent overworking the joints
- Is a mind/body activity which helps improve cognitive function (prevents decline)
- Helps build strength and tones the arms and legs as well as the core
There are two kinds of Pilates. Mat Pilates, which takes place on a mat and uses your own body to perform exercises and can be accompanied by additional equipment, like a ball, magic circle, or resistance bands. While many think that mat Pilates is easier, keep in mind that you are supporting your own body weight throughout the workout, so it may be more challenging than a Pilates reformer workout.
Pilates Reformer classes take place on a machine that resembles a bed frame that is equipped with cables, springs, and a sliding carriage. Pilates reformer classes use similar exercises as mat Pilates, but with different resistance and varied movements.
The Reformer is a spring-loaded piece of Pilates equipment which has evolved over the decades. It was invented by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900’s and was used to aid in recovery from a variety of different injuries and coordination challenges. By using spring tension, the student could focus on control and balance, while receiving feedback from the body. This increased body awareness, improved posture, and built strength.
Today, the machines include interchangeable pieces which allow the student to work in a variety of positions. Current reformers provide all the benefits of the past and allow a greater variety of exercises to work both the core and the periphery (arms and legs).
Because there is much to learn when beginning the reformer program, we recommend either private or group introductory sessions before joining a scheduled class.
Want a sneak peek at a Pilates workout? Here is a FREE basic mat Pilates intro class that you can do at home. This gives you a look inside to our classes at the studio. Mat Pilates is a great place for almost anyone to start. When people call me and tell me they have had a back injury, have knee or hip problems or are just beginning, I feel comfortable starting them with the basic mat routine. There are multiple modifications we can make to accommodate their special needs and make them feel successful.
If you have a back injury, please consult your physician or chiropractor before following this video at home, since we are not able to assess your injury and make modifications.
Don’t be fooled though. If you do the mat exercises correctly, it is not a “phone it in” type of class!