5 Ways Pilates Can Change Your Body. Would you like to achieve a longer and leaner shape, build strength and improve posture and flexibility? With Pilates you can do just that and more. The Pilates Method, although recently made trendy, has actually been around almost a century.
Created by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s with a background of gymnastics, body building and boxing, the principals of the method can be seen today in gyms and Pilates studios around the world. Before the popularity of Pilates boomed in the 1980’s, the techniques were used primarily by dancers and elite athletes.
How can his age-old method help change your body? Here’s how:
1. Improve your posture
The awareness that Pilates brings to your posture will follow you not only during your exercise, but also throughout your day. As you sit at your desk at work, or stand in line waiting to order your morning coffee, you will be reminded to straighten your spine, keep your shoulders back, and scoop the abs in. Sloppy slouching will begin to feel uncomfortable, as your body will become accustomed to using proper posture. You will become more aware of how using improper posture throughout your day is only adding to the aches and pains you may feel. Not only will you look taller, but you will begin to feel that way too!
2. Strengthen your “powerhouse”
Speaking of good posture, we are only as strong as our core, and a strong core will make it easier to exhibit good posture, among other things. The powerhouse is a term that refers to the trunk of your body, from the bottom of your ribs to the bottom of your butt including not only your abs, but also the muscles of your pelvis, lower back, and glutes. A strong powerhouse will bring the control and stability to become more advanced in using the Pilates Method, not to mention give you a killer butt and abs.
3. Build full body strength
Pilates will help you build strength from the inside out, avoiding the bulky look of a body builder. The apparatus that is used today in Pilates such as the reformer, tower, and Wunda chair were all designed by Joe himself with the idea of using resistance with springs and fluid movements to build strength. If you never thought Pilates could be an athletic workout, give one of these machines a try and see if you don’t break a sweat. Pilates will strengthen your entire body too, eliminating the typical “overworking” of one group of muscles that can happen at the gym.
4. Increase flexibility
Becoming flexible is a great way to increase the range of motion of our muscles and joints. This will ultimately result in less stress on your joints during everyday activities leading to less aches and pains.
5. Elongate and strengthen your spine
Strengthening the muscles along the spine will help to avoid typical back problems we may encounter as we age, allowing us to keep exercising and staying fit. A strong back will also help with good posture and form during your Pilates workout and other exercise. Learning how to strengthen the powerhouse and “scoop” the abs will also help to strengthen the back, resulting in a longer, leaner, stronger feeling.
Look for a studio that teaches the classical method, to learn Pilates exactly the way it was created. Find a classical instructor near you, and get started!
This post was written by Appetite for Health intern, Dianna Marino. Dianna was born and raised in northern New Jersey. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Nutrition at Teachers College at Columbia University and will be graduating this February.