27 May 2020

Fitness Trends: What is Pilates?

With a strong celebrity following including names like Gwyneth Paltrow, Liz Hurley, Joan Collins, and Jamie Lee Curtis, Pilates has become one of the biggest trends in exercise. But what is Pilates, exactly? And what benefits does it offer? Is Pilates good for weight loss? Read on to discover everything you need to know about this celeb-favorite.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of non-aerobic body conditioning exercise devised by German physical trainer Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. It is an exercise system that consists of low-impact strength training and endurance movements combined with specific breathing techniques.

There are two forms of Pilates - mat-based and reformer Pilates. A reformer is a large machine that looks a bit like a bed with pulleys, ropes, and a sliding platform. The machine adds resistance to the classic Pilates movements and aids strength-building and flexibility. It is generally a bit more intense and dynamic that the mat-based version.

What Benefits Does Pilates Offer?

Pilates lengthens and strengthens the muscles without putting any stress on the joints or heart. It is well-known and loved for its ability to create a sculpted, lean, and defined body shape. Pilates tones the core and helps the body to heal from injuries. Additionally, it improves posture and joint mobility and calms the mind.

The primary benefits of Pilates are:

  • Core strength
  • Muscle tone and definition
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved posture
  • Correct bodily function
  • A sculpted, lean physique
  • Better body awareness
  • Injury prevention and rehabilitation
  • Prevention of back pain
  • Relaxation and a calm mind

Is Pilates Good for Weight Loss?

Pilates builds lean, strong muscles and helps the body to function correctly. Increasing muscle density helps to boost metabolism, and so any exercise that builds muscle will help the body to burn more calories.

Pilates is beneficial in helping to maintain a healthy weight, and to boost motivation to exercise. But its primary function is strengthening and sculpting the muscles and improving the day-to-day functioning of the body.

While Pilates can be a physically demanding workout, there is no cardiovascular element to this form of exercise. For weight loss, you need to perform both strength training and cardio workouts.

We suggest performing 3-4 Pilates sessions per week and adding in a couple of cardio sessions. The combination of the two will create and reveal those beautiful lean, sculpted muscles, as well as improve your posture, core strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness.

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

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