Are you looking for a lifestyle change that will give you both physical and mental benefits? If so, you’re not alone. This has led to an overwhelming number of choices, making it difficult to know where to start.
From taking on a new diet to choosing a fitness routine to finding time for your fitness to finding time to meditate, the demands on time discourage many before they even get started. Instead of making life simpler, it all seems so complicated.
But what if there was one activity that bridged all your needs. Something that combined the mindfulness and focus of yoga with the benefits of a regular cardio workout?
Pilates is the best way to get an all-in-one workout that strengthens the body and the mind. Keep reading to learn more about ten benefits of daily Pilates exercises.
1. Strengthen Your Core
Any new workout routine carries the possibility of injury. That’s because our bodies are naturally unbalanced, with certain muscle groups working harder to compensate for weaker ones.
If left unattended, these imbalances can lead to all kinds of injuries and strains. Lower-back pain is one common muscle imbalance issue many people struggle with.
Originally developed during World War 1 by Joseph Pilates, the program originally called Contrology focused on building core strength. He recognized that developing strength in the abdominal muscles benefited the whole body. Working from the core out, muscle imbalances are easily recognized and fixed.
2. Increase Flexibility
With the core of the body powering the rest of the body, the limbs are freed from supporting the additional weight. That means they are free to follow their full range of motion.
As you improve at your practice, exercises will include single-leg movements. These improve balance and allow you to move more freely, following proper body mechanics.
Even as a beginner, practicing simple movements will allow you to build the necessary strength to properly complete your movements.
3. Reduce Chance of Injury
As your muscles build both strength and flexibility, less strain in placed on joints, ligaments, and tendons. That’s because the imbalances that required stabilizer muscles for support are no longer present.
It’s not just the improved balance that limits exposure to injury, either. It’s also that you develop a greater awareness of your movements. You become less likely to bend or rotate improperly, moving more naturally instead.
4. Build Endurance
Being muscular doesn’t mean that someone’s fit. Professional bodybuilders may be able to drag a track across a parking lot, but sign them up for a marathon and see how long they last.
That’s because of the differences between cardiovascular health and strength building. Each has its benefits, but the combination of both is superior.
Pilates offers this. While the immediate goal is achieving a strong core, the practice places a heavy focus on breathing. Linking exercises together increases the amount of time you’re under strain, further building your endurance.
5. Increase Awareness
The mental aspect of Pilates can’t be overlooked. With medical science taking an increasing interest in the benefits of mindfulness, Pilates deserves to be recognized for its value.
With an emphasis on breathing and proper movements, proper practice requires that you be totally present. This not only gives you a greater awareness of your body but also improves your ability to focus.
6. Reduce Stress
As you build your awareness, you, in turn, reduce stress. That’s because your mind gets better at focusing on the present moment, filtering out anxious thoughts.
Learning how to breath properly helps support this, too. Taking in long, deep breaths brings clarity, providing the body with higher amounts of oxygen.
Finally, the link between fitness and improved mental health is well documented. Having a daily Pilates routine means that you feel better and more confident.
7. Lose Weight
One of the main reasons many people seek out workout routines is to lose weight. This is another area that Pilates has covered.
By combining strength building with cardiovascular endurance, Pilates can be a great way to burn calories. The trick is to build your routine around exercises that keep your heart rate high.
Basic moves are a great way to build initial strength, but over time will need to be increased to lead to weight loss.
8. Sleep Better
Along with reducing stress, another benefit of Pilates is improved sleep. Studies show that a third of Americans suffer from a lack of quality sleep.
This has a negative effect on many aspects of our lives. Poor sleeping habits have been linked to heart disease, depression, obesity, and more.
Pilates helps to eliminate stress, reduce pain and discomfort, and improve mental health. All of these go a long way to getting a better night’s sleep. In doing so, you reap the benefits, which include better health and mental clarity.
9. Fits Every Fitness Level
It’s clear that Pilates offers a lot more than strong abs. It’s a holistic approach to whole-body health that offers both physical and mental benefits.
Best of all, it can be adapted to meet any fitness needs. From hardcore gym rats to first-timers, Pilates covers a variety of exercises for every need. Variations can make exercises easier or more difficult, depending on your current fitness level.
10. Get Support
While Pilates can be adapted to any fitness level, there is equipment available to complete some of the movements.
Dr. Pilates himself developed the Reformer, a sliding table with straps that helps support certain movements. This can offer more resistance for experienced people, or help ease movements people find difficult.
The Pilates Ring is another tool that lets you get the most out of your practice. The Pilates Ring Workout is based on its use and makes for a comprehensive routine. Its durability and compact size make it perfect for travel, too.
Final Thoughts on Pilates Exercises
Life is busy. The demands on our time are constant, with both external and internal pressures demanding our attention.
Incorporating Pilates exercises into your daily routine gives you the benefits of multiple disciplines in one practice. You get an activity that builds strength and endurance while offering mental clarity and greater focus. It helps manage pain and discomfort while having a positive effect on both physical and mental health.
It’s also appropriate for pretty much anyone. Workouts can be tailored to any needs, and don’t require much beyond a floor mat and loose clothing. Variations to the exercises, along with additional equipment, can help adapt the practice as your skill levels increase.
Visit the Self Improvement section of our site for more articles like this.