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Six Reasons Why You NEED Pilates

Updated: Jan 4

Women doing Pilates on a reformer

No, one of them is not weight loss.

Pilates is one of those things that is very unfamiliar to someone who hasn't taken it, which means it's hard to know what to expect. There are several reasons you need a Pilates practice. Here are six of them.

Gain Strength

If I had $10 for every time I've heard, "Isn't Pilates the same as Yoga?" I'd probably only have a few thousand dollars, but that's still way more than I'd like it to be.

First of all, this sentiment implies that Pilates is a stretchy, easy workout focusing only on flexibility. Secondly, this implies that Yoga does not have a strengthening aspect (it certainly does).

Pilates is a strength workout more than anything. The focus is more on the deeper, stabilizing muscles that are often overlooked in other workouts. Even though every class won't necessarily have you sweating and out of breath, a consistent Pilates practice will make you stronger from the inside out.

Gain Flexibility

Because of the nature of the exercises, you will naturally become more flexible by practicing Pilates. For example, the Pilates Roll-Up uses abdominal strength to roll the body up off of the floor or mat, but in turn, the spine and the hamstrings get a nice stretch (see below). A two-for-one special!

Injury Rehabilitation

Many doctors will recommend Pilates as a rehabilitation option, whether for a sprained ankle, back pain, or knee surgery. Pilates uses a wide range of spring-loaded apparatus that help clients with mobility and stability, both of which are needed to regain strength and control. Pilates also helps with imbalances in the body, which will also help prevent future injuries.

Cross Training

Pilates is great for cross-training if you play a sport, dance, or just love to work out in general. Think of a golf player: the twisting, the core power needed to drive the ball, the shoulder strength, the control. Or a swimmer that needs breath control. Or a dancer who needs hip flexibility to lift her leg high and also the strength and stability to balance on one leg. The list can go on and on. All of these can be addressed with a consistent Pilates practice, especially when given the chance to work on different apparatus.

Prenatal/Postpartum Recovery

Pregnant woman doing Pilates on a reformer

I know this reason is very specific and won't apply to everyone, but as a new mom, I can't stress enough how much Pilates helped me in my prenatal and postpartum journey. Pilates kept my body moving and my core strong. Pregnancy causes imbalances and pelvic floor weakness, and because of the hormone called relaxin, joints become unstable, which can cause injury. Even just getting on the mat for 10 minutes daily makes a world of difference.

Because it Feels Good

Sometimes, it's just good to take time for yourself. Pilates is a feel-good exercise, whether on a mat at home or at a fancy studio. Because it is a mind-body workout, meaning you shouldn't be able to zone out while doing the work (after all, one of the principles of Pilates is "concentration"), there is a feeling of accomplishment. Everyone deserves this.

Of course, weight loss may be a result of doing a new workout, but I don't believe this should be a focus when it comes to Pilates. Pilates is for everybody and every body. If you live in a major city, Pilates studios are easy to find. It's great if you can find a place with a comprehensive offering (there's so much more to Pilates than just the mat and the reformer). If you're unable to go to a studio, you're in luck because there are plenty of classes online, including mine. Give it a shot, and enjoy!

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