Pilates classes are a great gentle way to get into shape that have many positive effects on the body and can prevent injury while also toning the body and the muscles and cutting fat. Pilates is all about strengthening the core muscles and the lower spine, as well as increasing flexibility and also develops the other muscles such as the abdominals, the legs and the buttocks in order to improve your physical appearance. At the same time this improved flexibility and strengthened core muscles can result in improvements in posture and ensure that you stand correctly and in such a way that you do not place too much pressure on your spine. You are also taught to become more aware of your body and of all your finer muscles and your joints which can give you more fine control over your movement, again better posture and gait, and generally help to avoid injury and problems. You will also find that your balance improves through pilates and as a result it is something of a complete health overhaul that anyone can try.
When you lie down on the floor in pilates for instance you will be taught to lie in a natural way so that your lower spine is raised just off of the floor rather than completely flat which is unnatural. This already will make a difference to the way you lie down, and from there you are shown how to perform sit ups in a way that engages the core of your abdominals far more intensively than repeating lots of fast repetitions and that will not damage your spine. In fact you will be taught to ‘roll’ your spine up in such a way that you feel each and every vertibrae flex and open up. When you go back down you will feel each one close again and compact something that you are not normally aware of, and will allow the floor to gently massage your spine at the same time.
During this same movement you will also be taught to control your breathing much more carefully. This will give you something else to think about and will mean that you are engaging your stomach muscles more in the movement. At the same time though it also makes the movement more of a full body movement that controls your whole body in unison from your breath to your spine. This takes a lot of concentration and is something we have lost in our day-to-day lives through bad habits.
Just from this one exercise then you will learn to control your body in a better way, to lie down more healthily and to breath better. More to the point though it is an incredible abs workout that will give you core strength and a washboard stomach by the end of it. Pilates may look slow – but this makes it harder so make no mistake that this is an intense workout; and you can expect the same treatment for your thighs and buttocks too.