Is Pilates The Ultimate Form Of Exercise?
Pilates is a form of exercise which uses intricate and precise movements to strengthen the human mind and body.
The workout emphasises form over repetition; Pilates requires great concentration in order achieve and maintain specific positions.
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early part of the 20th century.
His approach was called “Contrology” and was designed as a holistic physical fitness system that could build strength, improve flexibility, mobility and stability.
Here are the 6 Principles of Pilates
- Centering – Bring focus to the center of the body or proper alignment
- Concentration – Maintain full attention to each movement
- Control – Execute each exercise with control and fluidity
- Precision – Becoming aware of your body’s movements
- Breath – Efficient use of oxygen in your body
- Flow – Learn the correct transitions to flow from one position to the next
Over time, Pilates introduced the use of equipment in his discipline which he referred to as an “Apparatus”.
These apparatuses were intended to improve the processes of strengthening, stretching, body alignment and core mobility.
Among the apparatuses Pilates introduced were the Reformer, the Cadillac and the Spine Corrector.
Pilates was first introduced in Australia in the 1980’s as a form of therapy for dancers.
Today, Pilates has grown to become one of the most popular methods of physical fitness.
Here are 6 Proven Benefits of Pilates
1. Improves Brain Function
Studies have shown that after the age of 20, we lose 1% of our hippocampus the part of the brain tasked with memory and cognitive function.
However, scientists also discovered that the brain can create new cells and prevent shrinkage.
These same studies showed that exercise improves neurogenesis or the process of creating brain cells.
Researchers from the University of Illinois reported that Pilates stimulated neurogenesis better than aerobic exercise.
2. Improves Function Of The Nervous System
Pilates requires you to learn many different positions. Every time you endeavour to learn a new position, the brain sends impulses to the spinal cord to the muscles to help it accommodate the new resistance applied unto the body.
Over time, the process of continuous learning improves the communication between your Nervous System and other parts of the body.
This helps with the consistent release of stress-fighting and mood- boosting hormones.
3. Helps Calm The Mind And Body
Pilates can be meditative. When you are concentrating on a position, you have to clear your mind of any distraction.
This is often referred to as “mindfulness”, a type of meditation that has been proven to alleviate the following conditions:
- Negative Emotions
- Symptoms Of Chronic Pain
- High Blood Pressure
4. Relieve Stress
There are positions in Pilates that focus on steadiness and ease. These encourage you to find opposition in your body; areas where there is difficulty in range of motion, and use it to gain control.
There are studies that show these positions help you overcome stress which is a contributing factor to many diseases and illnesses.
5. Helps You Control Emotions
One of the central principles of Pilates is correct breathing which allows for the efficient distribution of oxygen throughout the body.
Research by Pierre Phillipot as published in “Psychology Today” explained how different emotional states are associated with breathing patterns.
This is why proper breathing techniques can help you control anger, anxiety and nervousness.
6. Improves Your Level Of Confidence
Pilates teaches you to be in control of your body. The positions can be difficult at first but through constant practice you should get it.
Pilates is a system that encourages its practitioners to maintain focus and confidence to keep trying until the positions become more natural.
In time positions that were difficult to do become easy. As you learn more positions, you gain more confidence.
If you are looking for a new fitness activity try, consider Pilates. The benefits of Pilates extend beyond the physical.
It is a great way to improve your health, level of fitness and state of wellness.