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Top Six Benefits of Pilates Exercises

Pilates is the exercise of choice for dancers, gymnasts, and a host of famous Hollywood celebrities, and now it finds itself firmly entrenched in the mainstream.  So… why is Pilates so hot?

Pilates incredible popularity can be traced to the fact that it provides its faithful practitioners with benefits that you simply can’t get through the traditional aerobics/strength training format.

1. Gives You Long, Lean Muscles

If want a long, lean look without bulky muscles, but with all the strength. Would you like to build strength and endurance without getting the muscle man look? If so, Pilates may be just what you have been searching for.
There’s a reason that Pilates is the exercise of choice for gymnasts and professional dancers. Pilates does not rely on frequent repetition, and thus no overgrown muscles. Pilates focuses on the whole body, not just on sections of muscles.

2. Increases the Strength of Stabilizer Muscles

There are many benefits that one can achieve through a proper use of the Pilates program. One of the most significant points of the Pilates program is it’s ability to increase the strength of stabilizer muscles that may not commonly be worked out in a standard exercise program.

Also, since Pilates stresses the use of graceful and fluid movements, it can be a great way to get a better sense of the kinesthetics of your body. The sense of body that you can achieve through Pilates is quite significant, and many find that they are better able to balance themselves regardless of the position that they are in.

3. A Mind-Body Workout That Strengthens Your Whole Body

Another one of the benefits of Pilates is that it engages the mind and enhances body awareness. Like yoga, tai chi, and Asian martial arts, Pilates is not just a workout for your body. Joseph H. Pilates studied yoga, martial arts, and other ancient mind-body activities and included a strong philosophical foundation into the practice of Pilates.

Pilates not only helps tone your body, but your mind and spirit as well. The smooth, precise and flowing movements of Pilates are designed to make you more mindful of your body.

Breath movement is also emphasized to put you in touch with how breath moves through your body. Pilates has been demonstrated to reduce stress, anxiety, and helps lift depression. The mind-body connection is fundamental to the study and practice of Pilates.

4. Pilates Strengthens Your Core like No Other Exercise

Another one of the benefits of Pilates is the increased amount of strength that one can achieve in the ‘core’ of the body. The term core refers to the muscles in and around the area of the abdominal muscles and the back.

Proper breath control is also stressed in Pilates, adding to the numerous list of benefits that one can attain through regular use of the exercise program.

5. Prevents You from Future Injuries

Pilates strengthens your body and helps prevent future injuries. Pilates helps to condition the whole body, not just certain muscles. This helps balance the muscle and strength of the body. Since no set of muscles is ever over or under trained, there is less risk for injury. The body becomes more fluid and supple, protecting against injury.

6. Helps You Become Efficient With Your Body

Last, but not the least, one of the benefits of Pilates is that it teaches you how to become efficient with your body. Very few exercises can help your body become more efficient in its movement.

Why is efficiency so important? Being efficient means that your body moves in a way that is smoother, safer, and less prone to injury. By practicing Pilates on a regular basis, you can train your body more to move in a much safer and more efficient manner.

Benefits of Pilates for Older Adults

The benefits of pilates have been particularly noted in older adults. Older adults are more likely to suffer from symptoms of arthritis, including stiff and painful joints. Pilates practice has also been lauded for its ability to help prevent injury.

Even adults undergoing serious rehabilitation therapy can use Pilates to increase their range of motion and overall muscle strength. But is Pilates safe for all adults? Who should avoid participating in a Pilates program, and who is more likely to benefit from the program?

Consult your medical professional if you have any doubts about starting a pilates program. If you are suffering from severe degeneration or physical pain, you should take extra care before beginning a pilates program.

You should never feel pain while practicing pilates. If you do, you know that there is something wrong. Don’t be afraid to pull back if you feel overwhelmed.

Pilates was designed to progress naturally from one movement to another. If you feel stopped at one movement, don’t give up. Start at the beginning and work your way back to the areas you found most challenging.

Other Benefits of Pilates
Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk.
Reduce stress, relieve tension, and boost energy through deep stretching.
Restore postural alignment.
Create a stronger, more flexible spine.
Increase the range of motion in your joints.
Improve circulation.
Heighten neuromuscular coordination.
Offer relief from back pain and joint stress.
Correct over-training of muscle groups which can lead to stress and injury.
Enhance mobility, agility and stamina.
Compliment sports training and develop functional fitness for daily life activity.
Improve the way your body looks and feels.

The Benefits of Strength Training for Weight Loss

If you are dieting and want to find a good way to complement your weight loss goals you can do so by adding a strength training program to your weight loss regime.  In order to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you take in.  You need to burn 3500 calories to lose one pound of excess baggage.  You can diet alone and lose weight slowly without concentration on toning up or you can diet, firm up, and speed up this process by implementing strength training into your fitness regimen.

Dieting alone will accomplish weight loss.  However, adding strength training to your plan will allow you the benefit of not only accelerating the process of weight loss, but doing so while toning and firming your body.  When you lose weight sometimes your skin does not always go back in place in certain areas.  If your skin has lost some of its elasticity, such as with obesity or age, you will notice some areas that are not quite as firm as they once were.  This requires exercise to tone and firm these areas.  Additionally, weight training will build the needed muscle that you need to increase your metabolism.  Increasing your metabolism will help to burn those calories and succeed at a much faster rate of weight loss.

Muscle does weigh more than fat, but muscle also burns calories at a higher speed.  By increasing your muscle mass through strength training you will be able to burn calories much more efficiently while also acquiring a toner, more firm body.

The calorie burning effect that strength training gives you will keep your body burning calories all day long.  Strength training will also strengthen your bones.  This is a very important piece of information, especially for women who are at an increased risk for osteoporosis.

Strength training can be accomplished by working out with weights.  If you are just starting out, go easy.  It makes no sense to push yourself one day only to be too sore to work out the rest of the week because you over did it.  For women,  starting out with 3- to 5-pound weights is ideal. You can find weight training programs that you can do at home such as P90X or you can go to your local gym and spend money on a personal trainer.

You will want to build up slowly and with this type of thought you will notice gradual increases in your ability to accomplish your goals.  Start out slowly and work your body so that you are able to perform each workout with just the slightest discomfort in your final repetition.  Working beyond this point means that your body is not yet ready for the next level.  Start out with 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise.  If this is too much scale back a bit and proceed even more slowly until you are ready for more.  Let your body be the judge of just how much you can handle comfortably.  Never work on the same group of muscles two days in a row.  Your muscles need time to rest in between workouts.

Strength training for weight loss is the most effective way to reach your goals.  You will see your weight drop more quickly while sculpting your body at the same time.