When it comes to weight loss and staying fit, there are a number of things that you can take up. From sports to aerobics, HIIT, cross fit, yoga, weights, or hitting the gym. All these exercise programs have multiple benefits; however, not every regimen is for everyone. When you don’t enjoy your exercise you naturally go off track within a month or so. These often lead to disappointments.
However, what needs to be understood by anyone trying to lose weight is that being skinny is not fit. Overall fitness and well-being is dependent upon a healthy mind, balanced diet and an overall healthy lifestyle. It is very important to simultaneously work on your mindfulness with physical health. There are some exercise regimens which actually cater to both.
Pilates is one such program which combines yoga, ballet and calisthenics. It provides you with combined benefits of all these regimens, as it tones you physically and calms your mind. Pilates is an excellent way to gain both physical and mental strength. Couple Pilates with some fat burning foods and you will achieve overall health in no time. Here are six reasons to start practicing Pilates now!
1. Stress Buster
Stress can be both physical and mental. Along with a wandering mind, aching muscles and sitting too long in a bad posture adds onto the stress. Pilates focuses on your breathing as you work to make your posture right. Right posture releaves those aching muscles and as you breathe deeply Pilates almost takes a form of meditation. This increases the oxygen supply to your brain and you feel much calmer. You will see as you are de-stressed, sleeping better and also are more energized throughout the day.
2. Builds Stamina
If you are not in the best of physical shape or have never tried Pilates, it might be a little difficult for you in the beginning. Pilates exercises are done in a sequence, just like you do any other strenuous exercise in sets. There is a strenuous activity session followed by a resting session which allows you to calm your heart rate. Doing these sequences in repetitions builds on your stamina and endurance. An added bonus, when after a couple of sessions you can actually complete the whole sequence, it also gives a boost to your confidence and self-esteem.
3. Gives You a Lean Physique
Pilates mainly works on correcting your posture. As your shoulders and chest are perched, your core muscles start to work better. A bad posture leads to multiple problems such as poor metabolism, bulging belly and constant pain in back. As your posture gradually improves all these problems also start to go away. As these muscle groups become active, you stand taller and achieve an over all leaner appearance in no time.
4. Improves Your Posture
Ok, so we’ve already mentioned the word posture more than once and you must be wondering exactly how it works? In Pilates this is called alignment. It simply helps you in making use of those muscles which help’s in holding your head and shoulders high, without straining any muscles. If you don’t sit in the right posture, you strain the muscles in your neck and back. If you don’t stand in the right posture unknowingly you strain your hip joints and knees. As your alignment improves your joints and muscles all relax.
5. Improves Flexibility
Pilates is different than yoga. The stretches are not static. As you flex and move your muscles as opposed to being static in yoga the muscles become freer. Improved flexibility improves your blood circulation, less tension on muscles and joints. Stiff muscles lead to muscle cramps and pulled muscles. The constant movement increases your body temperature, which allows you to stretch farther.
6. Develops Muscles
Body weight training is one of the best ways to develop lean muscles. Since Pilates works all the muscles in your body from top to bottom, you gain muscle strength. Although lifting weights and doing a HIIT workout also develops muscles but none of them work your obliques like Pilates moves do. Another advantage is that you will get strong, lean muscles in your calves, thighs and especially your core. This develops muscles in a proportional manner and targets your whole body.
If you want to lose weight, enhance flexibility, achieve mindfulness and improve your overall health, Pilates is your answer. Just a piece of advice, that if a Pilates workout seems a bit intimidating to you in the beginning, start at your own pace and don’t give up.
Written by: Alwa John