When it comes to Pilates, most are either die-hard enthusiasts or have never stepped foot in a Pilates studio. Are you the latter? Tons of research on the benefits of Pilates would suggest you switch camps.
Check out our FAVORITE 8 Reasons for Why We LOVE Pilates:
1) It's Ah-Mazing for Your Abs: Pilates hits your core unlike any other workout. In fact, after completing 36 weeks of Pilates training, women strengthened their rectus abdominis (the muscle responsible for six-packs) by an average of 21%, while eliminating muscle imbalances between the right and left sides of their cores, according to a Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise study.
2) Eases Back Pain: A stronger core equals a better back. That's why those with chronic lower back pain who practiced Pilates for just four weeks experienced more relief than those who visited a physician and other specialists, says a Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy study. What's more, their pain stayed away for a full year post-Pilates. Researchers believe that by stabilizing the core's lumbar-pelvic (lower-back) region, Pilates alleviates stress on the area and ups mobility.
3) It's Easy on Your Joints: Pilates' slow and controlled movements puts minimal impact on your joints. Bonus if you're using the Pilates reformer: The padding on a Pilates reformer is as thick as 10 yoga mats and it takes the pressure off of your back and knees.
4) Hones Your Focus: Pilates urges you to focus on 1) your breath, 2) your body, and 3) how they move together. It takes a lot of concentration so you can't just zone out. That means you're forced to forget about work, bills, and other drama for a full hour. Ahh.
5) It Makes Sex Better: For women especially, Pilates moves like those strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to up your pleasure in the bedroom. For men, a key element to Pilates is muscle control. The exercises are not done quickly, so control is the focus rather than speed. It’s not how fast you do the exercises that produces results, it’s technique. Overall, Pilates gives you steady strength and stamina during sexual activity allowing for a longer, more intimate experience.
6) It Improves Your Sports Performance: When you start focusing on your core, you realize that all of your muscles are connected through your core. With a stronger core, you can run faster, your yoga is on point, and overall, the rest of your workouts improve. Plus, by working with a Pilates instructor, you can learn moves that mimic and improve performance in your sport of choice.
7) It Makes You More Flexible: For anyone who's ever said, "I've never been flexible, I can't do Pilates," this is why they should be doing it. In one Brazilian study, when young women (without any prior Pilates experience) performed 20 Pilates sessions, they became 19.1 percent more flexible. When you're tight, you shorten your muscle and limit your body's range of motion. At best, that can hurt your exercise performance. At worst, it can cause injury.
8) It Boosts Your Brainpower: Joseph Pilates called his workout method "the thinking person's exercise." It could very well be. When Chinese researchers measured changes in women's brain activity after 10 weeks of Pilates training, they found an increase in the brain's alpha peak power, which is related to neural network activity, memory performance, and other cognitive functions. Researchers believe Pilates may even hold potential as a treatment option for people with brain-degenerative diseases and cognitive dysfunctions.
The wonderful thing about Pilates is that it was developed by a man to benefit both men and women. It is also a method of exercise that was designed for anyone to do, from a beginner to the most advanced athlete. Now get to moving!
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