Has your fitness routine been feeling a little ho-hum lately? Maybe your New Year’s Resolution was to workout more, but you’ve already grown tired of the same old squats and push ups. That is a sign to mix things up…stat! It is easy to fall into a rut when you are doing the same exercises day after day after day. Thankfully, there are many different types of physical activity to choose from. One day, swimming might intuitively feel right for your body and energy level. Another day, running or hiking on a nearby trail may seem like the best option. Something else to throw into the mix? Pilates. This workout continues to grow in popularity. Wondering what it is and what the associated benefits are? Here are some reasons to add Pilates to your routine.
What Is Pilates and Why Should You Add It Your Fitness Routine?
Pilates blends core strength and breathing techniques together. It is often compared to yoga, but the two practices are quite different. While yoga involves physical poses and concentration, Pilates is all about on stretching, deep breathing, and building lean muscle. It is associated with improved core strength and strengthened back muscles. Pilates is a fitness routine that was originally created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. At that time, it was developed as a way for dancers to recover from injuries. However, it was soon discovered that non-dancers could also benefit from the exercises. Some Pilates exercises can be performed on a Pilates Reformer, while other exercises do not require equipment. That means you can practice either in a dedicated Pilates studio or in the comfort of your own home.
There are many reasons to add Pilates to your fitness routine. For starters, it can be an excellent way to break out of a fitness rut. Learning new moves can be enjoyable and can even reignite your commitment to regular exercise. If that wasn’t enough, there are many physical benefits connected to the exercises. It is possible to feel stronger and more connected to your body. Need more convincing? Consider the following four reasons to add Pilates to your fitness routine:
Reason #1: Pilates is Accessible and Versatile
What makes this type of workout so popular is the fact that it is incredibly accessible. Since Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise, it is possible for fitness lovers of all ages and abilities to give it a try. That includes people who are athletic, senior citizens, and even those recovering from injuries. In addition to the low-impact style of exercise, Pilates also has a number of modifications. It can be modified to be more challenging or less physically demanding, depending on your current needs. That means that you can work your way up to a higher fitness level over time or stay right where you are. Listen to your body and adjust as needed.
Reason #2: There Are Many Physical Benefits
Other benefits of Pilates? It can improve overall fitness levels. Doing these exercises can help you develop a much stronger core. As a result, you’ll likely start to notice that your stomach appears more toned. These moves can also make your back stronger, which can help to prevent injuries in future. Your muscles are also positively affected! This method is thought to strengthen and elongate the muscles, provide added flexibility, and improve joint mobility. Unlike many other forms of exercise, Pilates isn’t about how many different moves you can cram into one sweat session. Instead, it is about having control over your body, getting the form exactly right, and using cleansing breaths to breathe through any discomfort.
Reason #3: Pilates Can Be Done With and Without Equipment
Depending on where you live, gyms and exercise studios may be closed or operating with limited hours. Or they may be open for business as usual. Not to worry…it is always possible to practice Pilates. Yes, it can be done with or without equipment. Take a look at the options in your area or ask your local gym whether Pilates classes are offered. Studios and personal instructors typically have access to the Pilates Reformer while classes at a gym may or may not have the Pilates Reformer available. Ask before you book! Alternatively, Pilates can be practiced at home with Mat Pilates. While the Pilates Reformer creates resistance using the springs on the machine, Mat Pilates uses body weight for resistance. Not sure where to begin? There are many DVDs, fitness apps, and YouTube videos dedicated to Mat Pilates routines.
Reason #4: This Fitness Routine Can Boost Energy Levels
Movement is essential. Exercise has been found to increase energy levels, thanks to the release of endorphins and dopamine. Pilates is no exception. This fitness routine increases blood flow and stimulates the body and the brain. The end result is an elevated mood and increased energy levels. In addition, Pilates can also boost happiness. While the practice can be taxing at times, it can also be extremely rewarding. That means a deeper sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Heading to a Pilates class with a friend will double down on the happiness levels, so consider adding a little social interaction to your workout whenever possible.
Looking for a fitness routine that is gentle, but still challenges your body? Pilates may be your best bet. It isn’t just about working out. This practice has to do with breathing, stretching, and increasing overall strength. The moves may feel difficult at first, but the more you do them, the easier the exercises will become. Don’t be afraid to modify moves if you have to. After all, this practice is as flexible as you need it to be.