Getting Started: The Scoop on Pilates
At this time of year my mind and spirit shout Spring, but my body still reflects those extra layers of winter “insulation.” What a great time to re-energize and reboot my workout! I find Pilates is just the thing for me. I love sharing what Pilates has done for me which is why I began to study to be a certified instructor.
Like many mind-body techniques, Pilates offers a wide range of benefits. Do you have lower back pain? By strengthening your abdominal muscles you can better support your low back, and by increasing your range of motion, you can release any tension pulling you out of alignment.
As a low impact workout, Pilates is a great form of exercise regardless of skill level as a good teacher can always modify the movements based on your needs. We can make adjustments to go easier on joints and ligaments, or more for the more advanced we can really challenge the muscles.
I was first introduced to Pilates in grade school while training with a pre-professional dance company. The Artistic director surprised the class one morning by asking the entire company to lie down on mats instead of starting at the ballet barre. The Director’s objective for inviting a Pilates instructor was to teach us how to better control our movements, but I think she also thought we were getting too soft!
The mat exercises focus on the “powerhouse” which is a term Joseph Pilates used to describe the core abdominal muscles. Historically, Mr. Pilates called his technique Contrology. The controlled, coordinated movements focus on the deep postural muscles at the core of establishing strength and balance.
Pilates teaches efficiency of movement by bringing awareness inward. In discovering muscle imbalances, you will begin to understand and learn to correct your posture and gait. It will even change the way you think about doing mundane activities like washing the dishes or sitting at a computer.
Hooked from the start, I found the exercises highlighted my body’s strengths and weaknesses and I quickly saw results, even in my dancing. But you don’t have to be a dancer to reap the rewards. Pilates aims at increasing flexibility while building long lean muscles. So whether you suffer from aching joints, want to get back into your skinny jeans or if you’re just looking for a new routine, Pilates is a great place to start!