Pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that focuses on improving flexibility, strength, and control in the body. Named after its founder, Joseph Pilates who created the program in the early 20th century, Pilates involves controlled movements and exercises performed on a mat or using specialized equipment.
Pilates is great for people of all fitness levels and is often taught in group fitness classes or through private sessions with a certified instructor. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of Pilates and why you should consider trying a class.
What Are the Benefits of a Pilates Class?
Pilates offers many benefits, including promoting core strength and stability, flexibility, and overall muscle balance and coordination. It’s great for people who want to improve their posture, balance, and alignment, or simply want a low-impact form of exercise.
Gentle & Low-Impact
Pilates is low impact in that it’s effective at getting your heart rate up and providing a good workout while being gentle on your joints. The smooth movements and motions are a lot easier than more jarring forms of exercise.
Improved Flexibility & Mobility
Want to keep your muscles loose and limber so you can get around with easer? Pilates’ controlled movements can help to improve flexibility and mobility in the joints.
Encouraging muscle strength is an effective strategy for long-term health — and Pilates will work your muscles, especially the core. All of that leads to greater muscle strength and stability.
More Upright Posture
Good posture can be as beneficial for your headspace as it is for encouraging physical balance and alignment. Whatever your goal, Pilates can improve posture by strengthening the muscles that support the spine.
Better Balance & Coordination
Good balance makes it easier to control your body, especially while it’s in motion. Pilates involves a number of exercises designed to improve balance and coordination.
Stress relief is one of the most common reasons people exercises — and it’s also one of the benefits of Pilates. If you haven’t taken a class, try it. It’s one of the most relaxing and meditative forms of exercise.
Good for All Fitness Levels
Who Can Benefit From Pilates?
Pilates is beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels.
- Older adults: Pilates improves flexibility, strength, and balance, all of which is beneficial for older adults at risk of falling.
- People with injuries or pain: Pilates is gentle and can be modified to accommodate injuries or chronic pain while minimizing impact on the joints.
- Athletes: Pilates promotes core strength, muscle balance, and flexibility, which supports athletic performance and prevents injuries.
- Pregnant women: Many pregnant women find that Pilates improves strength, flexibility, and balance without being jarring.
- People who sit a lot: Spend a lot of time sitting at a desk? Pilates can improve posture, reduce muscle imbalances, and relieve stress.
Get Fit With Pilates at the YMCA of Greater Whittier
Do the benefits of Pilates align with your personal fitness goals and needs? The YMCA of Greater Whittier offers Pilates and other group fitness classes. Check out the schedule for details.
As with any new exercise program, consult your doctor before beginning — especially if you have health concerns or preexisting injuries. Listen to your body, take breaks when you need, and go at a comfortable pace.