Immense Benefits of Pilates
I’m Barrie, I’m 87 and I warmly welcome you to my monthly blog Over50andfit.ca
Question: When was Pilates introduced in North America? Answer: In 1926 by the charismatic Joseph Pilates (1880-1967) for the purpose of rehabilitating soldiers returning from war. His body was so remarkably well-proportioned at the age of 14 that it was illustrated on anatomy charts.
My purpose is to document one of the most popular exercise modalities, and also to attest to its compelling benefits. It might just become your favourite workout.
Pilates is a system of low-impact controlled exercises designed to improve core strength, mobility and flexibility: all of the body’s muscles are engaged. This system is comprised of precise moves, a focus on form and specific breathing techniques. I incorporate several of these exercises in my own fitness regimen.
Are There Benefits? Lots!
- Improves circulation and balance
- Strengthens muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility
- Can help to reduce back pain, and daily aches and pains
- Builds total-body coordination
- Improves core and overall strength
- Affirms mind-body connection
- Incorporates slow, refined, and deliberate movements
- Helps you move better on a day-to-day basis
- Inexpensive and requires no special equipment
- Can be done at home
- Can significantly improve mental outlook and self-awareness
Why Pilates Emphasizes the Core
A strong core is a crucial part of your overall fitness, and plays an essential role in a healthy lifestyle. The core wraps around your entire torso, and is comprised of the muscles surrounding your trunk. Core strength affects your stability, balance and posture, and facilitates everyday activities. That’s why the Pilates system centres on your core in order to condition your body and build stronger muscles.
If you have never tried Pilates before, I encourage you to join a beginners’ group led by a qualified instructor, as it is essential to acquire a solid technical foundation. The technique alone can take several lessons to assimilate. Also, for new participants – prior to enrolling for a group – I would strongly recommend watching videos (see below) created for beginners. In this way, you will feel more comfortable and confident with the basic routines of Pilates.
Before each Pilates session, it is important to stretch. When you begin, you will focus on smaller muscles. These smaller muscles are the support system for the larger muscles. You will become stronger when these smaller muscles are recruited to help the larger muscles – the bigger guys – do their job.
Look. Listen. Watch. And do!
Oh, make sure you keep hydrated – drink lots of water!
Caution: I strongly urge you to consult your family doctor before you begin an exercise program, particularly if you have not exercised for a long period of time.
I would be delighted to hear any suggestions you have, and also be happy to answer any of your questions at Over50andfit.
Yours in fitness,