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Pilates Offers a Plethora of Health Benefits

February 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 139

One of the benefits that has made Pilates so popular is that it can be done just about anywhere and all you really need to do a Pilates work out is a soft mat. While there are Pilates machines, the basic principles of the exercise is to use the body itself as a resistance while working the core muscles. This type of resistance is also sometimes called dynamic tension.

Starting a Pilates exercise regimen is relatively inexpensive once you purchase the mat. There is no need to wear special shoes or clothing and unless you decide to buy a Pilates machine, exercise ball or weights to enhance your work out there is nothing else to buy. There are many gyms that offer Pilates classes which are included in the gym membership cost. There are also lots of Pilates studios that offer Pilates classes and rates vary from studio to studio.

Physically, the major benefit of doing Pilates that draws many people to begin practicing it is that it creates a long, lean and toned look rather than a bulky or stocky one, that many other methods of strength training produce. The exercises developed by Joseph Pilates, the father of Pilates, were designed to fully engage each muscle that the particular exercise targets. The movements are done slowly and the movement from one to the next should flow smoothly. Both elements create a workout that puts less stress on the joints than other forms of strength training.

Another benefit of doing Pilates is that it not only offers a great workout but also provides stress relief and relaxation for the mind and soul. Joseph Pilates designed his exercise regimen to improve the function of the muscles as well as the minds of his physical rehabilitation patients that he created the regimen for. His philosophy was that centering both the mind and body as well as fully focusing on holding each position would result in a much more efficient and effective workout. In fact, Pilates originally called his exercise program "controlology." Many of the Pilates programs designed today allow you to do the fewest reps and least amount of exercises to get the best possible workout in a short period of time.

The attention and focus on control not only allows for a quick, effective workout but also increases your mind/body awareness. The controlled breathing helps ensure that incoming oxygen reaches all of your muscles and the stretching increases blood flow. The more efficient your blood and oxygen flow is, the more relaxed, calm and rejuvenated you will feel.

Many people have begun doing Pilates because its exercises target the core, or "powerhouse" - the group of muscles that make up the abdominal area. Pilates ab exercises if done mindfully and regularly through the week will definitely help you achieve a flat stomach. The workouts that focus on abs also use some of the muscles in your lower back, so they will help to strengthen these muscles over time which can reduce lower back pain. Aside from working the core and tightening and toning the abs, Pilates exercises can also tone and lift the buttocks, thighs and obliques.

As mentioned earlier, Pilates exercises can help strengthen the muscles of the lower back. These same exercises that lengthen the muscles can actually lengthen and strengthen the spine as well. While it might sound painful, a spine that gets stretched often is actually more supportive and more resistant to back pain or slipped disks. A healthy spine makes you look taller and leaner and also makes you move in a more flexible and graceful way.

While there are even more benefits that Pilates provides, one in particular speaks to women who are trying to get their bodies back in tip top shape after having a baby. Pilates is one of the best workouts, when paired with a cardio activity, to get the stomach looking fit and toned.

Learn more about personal pilates training here: Pilates Training South Lake Tahoe and stateline pilates instructor.

Source: EzineArticles
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