Q. I have heard a lot about Pilates. Could you elaborate on the benefits?
A. The benefits to Pilate are numerous! The first that comes to mind is that of postural awareness; you cannot master Pilates without it! In fact, that is one of the first goals I urge clients to take away from their first (as well as successive) session(s).
You learn how to stand, breathe, and carry yourself consciously—you will find that it spills over into every aspect of your life. Another facet that Pilates is known for is promoting longer, leaner muscles; because there are a pre-set number of repetitions per exercise, (with or without spring resistance) focusing on concentric and eccentric contraction, the results are longer and leaner muscles.
Pilates is famous for increasing core strength and stability in addition to peripheral mobility. It is one of the first places people turn when looking to correct their postural problems. Who doesn’t want to have tighter abs, less back pain, and killer posture? Pilates is touted for its abilities to balance strength and flexibility. The exercises elongate tight muscles, strengthen weaker ones, and help restore balance to the body.
Because Pilates is non-impact, it is easy on the joints making it user-friendly for anybody at any age—not to mention it being used in conjunction with other fitness disciplines (ex. golf, tennis, weightlifting, etc.); it actually enhances functional fitness and ease of movement. Most athletes (and weekend warriors alike) use Pilates to improve their performance in their sport(s) of choice, or even for their hobbies (kayaking, swimming, dancing, etc.).
Have you heard of the old adage “if you don’t use it, you lose it”? There is some truth to those words—starting in your forties, balance starts to deteriorate as your muscles weaken and your nerve receptors lose sensitivity. Pilates reverses this aging process by stabilizing your core. Pilates works the small, deep muscles needed to keep your body steady when walking and keeps your spine both supple and strong.
Pilates helps to improve balance, coordination and circulation. All of these benefits help you to prevent injury as well! It is a win-win all the way around. Lastly, you have a body unlike anyone else—so why train it the same way that your brother, friend, sister is training theirs? Pilates can be customized for anyone from rehab patients to elite athletes. So what are you waiting for? Give Pilates a try—it’s never too late to start!
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a certified personal trainer and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email Crystal@101FIT.com. She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com and (239) 333-5771.