One of the exercises which are getting famous nowadays is Pilates. It is a methodical approach of physical activity that works on improving the body’s strength and flexibility. These are the essential principles which are integrated in the Pilates.
- Concentration. Performing pilates requires focus at all times. The movements must be smooth, thus, the person must fully concentrate on each and every move.
- Control. The proponent preferred to name pilates with ‘contrology’ because the exercise is all about control. Accordingly, the movement of the body and the manipulation of the apparatus imply great sense of control.
- Centering. The center is considered as the starting place of body control among performers. This focal point includes abdomen, lower and upper back, inner thighs and buttocks. All the motions must begin from the center going outwards.
- Efficiency. It is important for the pilates performer to be efficient in movement which can be done by using appropriate transitions in between. Coordination of the limbs during the actual exercise is attained when there is precision in the movements.
- Breathing. In pilates, proper breathing is considered as the key. Pilate breathing is done by breathing deeply and the performer must breathe in and out with effort as if pushing the air to the sides of the rib cage. Moreover, it is vital to remember that inhalation and exhalation must be well coordinated with every body movements.
Practicing pilates with lots of consideration must be just taxing. However, there are several benefits of doing this mode of exercise.
- Corrects Posture. The exercise helps improve posture. A moderate change is observed after at least 12 weeks among groups who practice the method regularly. It was even concluded that the enhanced stance among individuals who work out using the traditional weight training has similar effects with the pilates.
- Promotes Muscle Development. Like other body building activities, pilates can speed up development of leaner muscles. As it mostly works on the premise of resistance, it can also increase the flexibility of specific muscle groups.
- Provides Strength and Flexibility. There are evidences that point out pilates can work wonders on strength, balance and flexibility. The strength which can be gained from doing the exercise is comparable with traditional resistance exercises, such as lifting weights. Flexibility can be achieved from pilates independently from strength, it might be associated with the principles it imbibed like concentration, control and efficiency.
- Improves Body Image. People who engaged with the exercise reported increased body awareness. Instructors work as closely as possible with the performers, they mostly instruct them to focus on the inner environment when performing. They coach them to think about how the muscles in the body work each and every motion. When this self-awareness was measured, it was found to be linked with heightened positive outlook in life. It was perceived that individuals have better intrapersonal, as well as, interpersonal relationships.
- Enhances Performance in Dance and Sports. Pilates, as a form of workout, has the potential to improve athletic performance of a person. This can be assumed because of the power, flexibility and strength the person can profit from doing the exercise. Pilates machine provides the moves and precision needed in dancing.
Most of the work with pilates is non-weight-bearing and in a supine or prone position. It is beneficial for both our physical and mental being. Pilates is also important for concentration and awareness in sports such as golfing, gymnastics and other balancing activities. Over time, a person that practices pilates will have greater stamina, focus and flexibility than one who does not.