“It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.”~ Marcus Cicero
People are becoming increasingly more interested in fitness modalities that help relieve stress, develop strength and endurance for life rather than a quick fix diet. Pilates allows people of all ages and fitness levels to strengthen core postural muscles through lengthening rather than bulking up so the muscle has the strength of an athlete and length of a dancer.
In the words of Joseph Pilates, “In 10 classes you feel a difference, in 20 classes you see a difference and in 30 sessions others see a difference.” To see results quickly, it is recommended to do at least two sessions a week. Most clients say they have noticed a difference in the way their clothes fit after 12 sessions.
STOTT PILATES incorporates principles, including contemporary thinking about spinal rehabilitation and athletic performance enhancement. For example, some approaches may promote a flat back, whereas STOTT PILATES exercises are designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and rebalance the muscles around the joints, there is also more emphasis on scapular stabilization. As well, there are more preparatory exercises and modifications to cater to many different body types and abilities, making it applicable to everyday life.
Plan to dress in layers and wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely. No shoes are worn during the workout- sticky socks or bare feet are best.
In some respects Pilates is like Yoga. Both are considered mind-body methods of movement; both emphasize deep breathing and smooth, long movements that encourage the mind-body connection. The difference is that while Yoga requires moving from one static posture to the next, Pilates flows through a series of movements that are more dynamic, systematic and anatomically-based incorporating resistance and equipment. The goal with Pilates exercise is to strengthen the postural muscles while achieving optimal functional fitness.
Pilates is a positive addition to your overall weight-loss program. Combining Pilates with aerobic exercise is an option at our studio if weight loss is the goal; we have Cardiolates, jump board on the reformer and a Precor elliptical that is available for use before or after classes. Most important to losing weight is to know weight loss occurs when the number of calories consumed is less than the number of calories expended. The most successful and healthy way to achieve weight loss is an exercise plan that includes an aerobic component coupled with a strength training component, like Pilates exercise, and following a balanced diet.
Pilates is a great form of cross training to improve range of motion and increase flexibility. It is not a matter of one or two specific stretches, but rather the nature of the workout, which should complement your running and help counteract the tightness that often accompanies it. With time, Pilates will improve flexibility, reduce joint stress and enhance balance and coordination.
Medical practitioners are now recognizing Pilates as an ideal form of healthy exercise for expecting woman because of its emphasis on strengthening the pelvic floor and deep core muscles. It is important to consult with your physician before the initial session. A note from your physician is required for classes and exercises after 13 weeks to prevent strain or injury. Small groups or private sessions will be modified after 13 weeks with pads and pillows added for support.
Pilates uses springs, cords and pulleys to create resistance so the movements work to lengthen and extend the muscle rather than to add bulk to the muscle. Pilates also focuses on moving the spine and core postural muscles in all directions for balance and flexibility. There are five main pieces of equipment: the reformer, the half cadillac (using the tower), the stability chair, the ladder barrel and the low barrel (also referred to as the spine corrector.) Each offer different benefits depending on the clients’ needs and goals.
Mat exercises use gravity, both resisting it and working in weight-bearing positions, to strengthen the core muscles in the trunk. Exercises on the equipment work core and add more exercises for arms and legs with springs, straps and pulleys to create resistance to lengthen the muscle. The repertoire on the mat can often be more challenging but can be altered by using props for beginners to suit each client’s needs. Blending both mat and equipment classes, with 2 sessions weekly, has been one of our studio favorite choices.
Recommending one style of class over the other without knowing the specific situation is difficult. There are certainly instances when working on equipment is preferred, such as when developing specific skills or muscles groups after injury, or doing therapeutic work following surgery. The combination of Pilates and ActivCore is known as an ideal way to develop strength while bridging from Physical Therapy. If improving strength or flexibility is your goal, the equipment can provide resistance or lengthen muscles in ways that mat work cannot.
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