BY: Alyssa Ready

8 Ways Pilates Improves Your Wellbeing

How Pilates improves your health

Pilates, a low impact style workout, was founded by physical trainer Joseph Pilates in the early 1920s. While it was initially popular among ballet dancers, Pilates became a mainstream trend in the mid-2000s. Now, millions of people around the world practice it.

The practice focuses on bringing awareness to your body through six principles: concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing. In addition to strengthening and toning the body, Pilates offers other benefits that’ll leave you feeling amazing in and out of the studio, such as:

1. Improved posture

Poor posture forms due to bad habits, such as slouching at your desk or over a small screen, which can eventually cause aches and pains all over the body. Bad habits can result in asymmetrical muscle development, making some muscles weaker than others. Pilates can help to strengthen those underdeveloped muscles and improve skeletal alignment for better posture, helping eliminate pain.

2. Better balance

The Pilates movements strengthen stability muscles, like the abdominals and back extensors, helping improve your balance and coordination. You may notice you’re more agile for other activities and workouts, including strength training and cardio. Developing better balance also helps reduce the risk of injury.

3. Increased strength

Don’t be fooled; even though the main focus of Pilates is on developing your core strength, it’s a full-body workout. Using a combination of dynamic and static strength training, Pilates helps strengthen your entire body. This ensures that no specific muscle group becomes overdeveloped or underdeveloped. In addition, Pilates involves longer flowing sequences where the muscles are constantly engaged, helping build your endurance and stamina. This increased stamina can give you more energy throughout your day!

4. Reduced injury risk

Pilates was created as a form of rehabilitation and injury prevention. Fitness professionals quickly found it also helps strengthen joints and improves flexibility. The heavy focus on breathing, posture, and controlled movement will translate into your everyday life as you become more aware of how you are treating your body. This enhanced physical state reduces your risk of injury both in exercise and daily life. This could be from basic things like working at your desk to lifting things.

5. Enhanced core stability

In Pilates, “core” or “powerhouse” refers to your midsection, abdominal muscles, lower back, hips, and glutes. One of the six principles of Pilates is centering, meaning bringing your focus and stability to your powerhouse. Core strength is a critical factor in decreasing back and hip pain, reducing pelvic floor dysfunction, and providing more stability throughout your daily life.

6. Improved flexibility

The dynamic movements will gently stretch and lengthen your muscles while increasing your range of motion and mobility. The benefits of increased flexibility are reduced soreness, enhanced blood flow, and reduced risk of injury. Pilates works towards lengthening and stretching the muscles and the range of motion within the joints. Just as Pilates aims to build a level of muscular strength that will enhance and compliment your everyday movements, so does it aim to create a body that can stretch and bend to meet the flow of daily life.

7. Healthier blood

Pilates boosts your blood in three ways. First, improved posture and flexibility enhance your blood flow. Second, Pilates helps relieve stress and, as a result, lowers your blood pressure. Finally, the controlled breathing technique of Pilates allows you to oxygenate your blood fully. The more flexible you are, the better blood circulation you have. This can also help promote cell growth, organ function and help with healthier skin.

8. Mental fitness

Pilates requires that you are not only physically present but also mentally present. The controlled breathing technique of Pilates ensures that you are coordinating your breath with every movement and concentrating on your body. This mental fitness reduces stress, increases happiness, and enhances your focus daily. Pilates helps create a body and mind relationship, where concentration, focus, and meditation come together to help boost your mental health.

Give Pilates a try!

Pilates is perfect for all body types, fitness levels, and ages. The best benefit is the community of people that comes with joining the movement. Pilates is more accessible than you may think. In addition to studio options, there are many on-demand workouts and postures that you can incorporate into your daily routine to start reaping Pilates’ benefits.

Alyssia Ready is based in Seattle, Washington, and works as a social media specialist in the travel sector. In her spare time, Alyssia enjoys practicing Pilates and playing with her Husky, Pickett.

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