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The Benefits of Doing Basic Pilates 101

Kristen Howe have been practicing Yoga and Pilates at her local gym for 7 years and at home as a fellow Yogi and a Pilates Practitioner.

Learning Pilates 101

A decade ago, my neurologist recommended me to try low-impact exercise to help minimize my lower back pain. Besides yoga at my local gym, I added Basic Pilates 101 to my class schedule and to my home practice as well. With practice and within time, I reaped what benefits as a Pilates Practitioner had brought me: a better and fit lifestyle with less back pain with an invigorating workout. If it worked for me, it would work for you too. So read on and give it a try.

What is Pilates?

German-born Joseph Pilates developed Pilates, a physical fitness system, in the early 20th century. He called his method “Contrology," when we controlled our breaths by breathing. Did you know, as of today, 11 million people practice Pilates regularly, and there are nearly 113,000 instructors here in the USA?

There are many healthy benefits on practicing Pilates, that includes lowering back pain and helps your posture with flexibility. It also built strength and developed control and endurance in our body. It also improved balance and coordination with an emphasis on alignment and breathing.

How to do the 100 Exercise in Pilates


Pilates 101 anyone?

Doing the 100 Exercise at Pilates


Pilate routine poll?

How Pilates Can Benefit You

A decade ago, my neurologist had recommended me to do low-impact exercises to help me out with the lower back pain. Like Yoga, I gave Pilates a try and reaped the many benefits to help minimize my back pain and to correct my posture. If it worked for me, Pilates practice could work for you too with these many benefits to you and your health.

1. Increases Core Strength and Improves Posture

The core's the body's center, which is where all movement stems. It supports and stabilizes the body with pliable and strengthened muscles of the truck's surrounding muscles. With continuously Pilates practice, it improves core strength and function. It's a key factor in decreasing back and hip pain and pelvic floor dysfunction, and the area where explosive moment derives, hence the "powerhouse" nickname. If you're slouched, you'll have headaches, weak and imbalanced muscles, and shoulder or back pain, Pilates practice improves your posture when you're sitting or standing with ease. It focuses on full body alignment, an ideal joint range of motion, and a balance of opposing muscles. It brings awareness to your alignment and strengthening neglected postural muscles too.

2. Decreases Back Pain and Prevents Injury

Pilates practice helps decrease back pain by targeting deeper abdominal muscles and pelvic floor to both contract and release--a true sign of strength. Like a brace, it works to lift and support organs and protects and stabilizes the back. It also balances your body's muscles, so they're neither weak or loss nor tight or rigid when you're more susceptible to injury. It focuses on developing dynamic strength, better to support and stabilize joints while moving. It's an effective method for reducing the risk of injury in sports.

3. Increases Energy and Enhances Body Awareness

Pilates practice improves your cardiorespiratory capacity by focusing on breath. It stimulates your feel-good hormones, oxygen flow, and blood circulation. Due to a low-impact nature, Pilates achieves this, since it rarely leaves you fatigued and gives you an energy boost. It also enhances your body awareness, or proprioception through this body-mind practice. It's the inward attention and ability to focus on the body sensations to heightens awareness of comfort or pain, your emotions, and surrounding environment. Your body's better able to respond to stimulus, which prevents injuries and falls, and helps prevents overeating as you're more in tuned with your body's "hunger" signals.

4. Decreases Stress and Reduces Menstrual Pain

It helps you continue body awareness with the inward focus and the use of breath down-regulated nervous system. It decreases stress over time, lowers cortisol, and takes you out of the "flight vs fight" mode. If you experienced painful menstrual periods, it's called Dysmenorrhea, it's debillitating. With Pilates, it helps reduce menstrual pain.

5. Improves Flexibility and Mobility and Boosts Immunity

The passive strength in muscles is called flexibility. The range of motion of joints is mobility. Good mobility requires flexibility but also strength. While flexibility in and itself isn't functional, mobility is something to strive for in Pilates. To optimize mobility, you need a balance of strength and flexibility. Pilates helps you keep moving after smooth transitions between precise and slow, controlled movements. Most exercises are a combination of stretching and strengthening, which improves strength, flexibility, and mobility, instead of stretching after strengthening. In older adults, Pilates helps boost your immune system functioning. Everyone at any age could experience a boost in their immunity with Pilates practice, because of an improved circulation. It also improves your immune system function with proper flowing blood and lymph.

6. Improves Balance and Cognitive Functioning

At any age, balance is important and necessary for everyday coordination like for walking, or nonlinear movements like reaching and twisting. Pilates improves balance and gait, not through core strengthening, but because it focuses on alignment and full body exercises. After Pilates practice, studies had shown it also improves your cognitive functioning. It gives you new neuron development, a blood flow to brain, an increase in neurotransmitters, and a longevity of neurons responsible for learning, memory, and executive thinking.

7. Improves Motivation and Sex Life

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It's been effective to improve motivation in students. For those who practice Pilates every week, they're driven by intrinsic motivation rather than external validation. Want a more enjoyable romp in the sack? Pilates builds endurance, strength, mobility, and flexibility that enhances bedroom adventures that lasts longer. It's an effective tool for improving pelvic floor strength and function, and strong pelvic floor correlates with increased sexual pleasure.

8. Enhances Sports Performance and Strengthens Bones

If you're a professional or amateur athlete, or play games on the weekends, Pilates practice elevates your sport or activity, and balances the body by strengthening muscles, mobilizing what's rigid, and lengthening the tight areas. It enhances you to react quicker and prevent injury. If you participate in multiple sports, research showed it improves your speed and provides a gain in muscle mass and truck strength. Pilates also gives you a more stable core, improves your vertical jump, and better flexibility when kicking. It's also effective in improving quality of life and bone density and reliving pain. With Pilates practice, it prevents osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, which affects anyone at any age.

9. Boosts Mood and Improves Sleep

With Pilates exercises, it offers a magical elixir of endorphins. It boosts the mood by reducing anxiety, fatigue, depression symptoms, and a release of negative thought patterns. For people under 40 and women experiencing Post-partum, Pilates provides better sleep when they add Pilates to their daily regimes.

10. Encourages Playfulness

Last but not least, Pilates is a fun change of pace from other workouts. It enhances your physical health in several ways with a sense of play. If you enjoy doing it, you'll keep exercising.

The Pilates Ring is a Versatile Prop


All About the Pilates Ring

The Pilates ring is actually thirteen inches in diameter, made from flexible metal or rubber, with small pads on either side. Whether we call, it the Pilates ring, exercise ring, fitness ring or circle, the magic circle is the preferred name. Joseph Pilates had the distinction of creating the magic ring, when he made the first ring on a key.

The magic circle provides gentle to moderate resistance in an exercise, gives the body feedback as where it's at in space, and which muscles are being used. The flexible metal is the most common for magic circles. If you're strong and want a muscular challenge, don't go for the rubber or "lite" versions. If you want mild resistance and more orientated body placement, a lighter ring would be perfect for you.

Magic circles are popular in Pilates workouts, since they're versatile, portable, and offers a great workout for little money. You can get one that fits your fitness needs at the right price. They're perfect for travel, don't weigh much and lay flat, and adds little volume. Choice the rubber or lite versions for traveling. Want to use one that stands up for a lot of use and resistance? Try a regular metal one that's used in studios. Find one with pads on the inside and the outside of the ring, which is the newer trend, since they add versatility of the magic circles.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Kristen Howe


Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on August 15, 2015:

Thanks Audrey. Thanks for sharing and commenting! You too!

Audrey Howitt from California on August 15, 2015:

Very cool hub! Sharing! And Happy Saturday!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 19, 2015:

My pleasure, Audrey. Enjoy your walk! Thanks for the vote and share. xx

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on April 19, 2015:

Thanks for this hub Kristen. Enjoyed it. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going for my walk! Up and sharing.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on April 18, 2015:

Thanks Chitrangada for the kind words. Pilates is perfect to be flexible and help with back pain. Walking helps, too

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 18, 2015:

Nice informative hub about Pilates!

I have heard about this though your hub made things more clear. Usually I do brisk walking and some yogic exercises for flexibility.

Your description makes me feel I should try Pilates too.

Thanks for sharing this motivating hub, voted up!

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