Pilates, which was once a strength, mobility and recovery technique reserved for dancers, has become popular. This low-intensity muscle-strengthening exercise can promote flexibility, mobility, and posture. Plus, it can prepare your body to perform other, more intense strength training exercises safely. You can find classes at fitness studios and gyms across the country, as well as online.

Read on to find out what Pilates is, its health benefits, and how to get started.

What is Pilates?

Pilates, an exercise technique created by Joseph Pilates, an athlete and physical trainer, in the early 1900s, uses about 50 exercises to work muscles, build endurance and improve balance, posture and flexibility, according to a previous study. It helps to work the small muscle groups, the stabilizing muscle groups and the core. Strengthening these muscles can help you perform everyday tasks more easily and reduce your risk of injury.

Pilates can improve your overall fitness. A small study in overweight or obese people, published in February 2019 in PeerJ, found that three one-hour Pilates sessions per week helped participants improve lean and fat mass, core endurance and flexibility.

Before you begin, it’s important to consider your current fitness level. For people who don’t move around a lot, or for older adults in lower physical condition, reducing sedentary behavior through an activity like Pilates can be beneficial to your health. Low-intensity exercises will feel more vigorous to these people. And some Pilates classes can be more challenging. There’s no set guideline on how often to practice Pilates, but to start with, a twice-weekly schedule, along with other workouts, is a good start.

The health benefits of Pilates

Not only does Pilates help strengthen several major and smaller muscle groups throughout the body, but it also offers a few health benefits for specific populations. Pilates has been shown to:

– Help people with Parkinson’s disease

A review and meta-analysis found that Pilates helped patients with Parkinson’s disease improve fitness, balance, and functional independence, with benefits for the lower body, specifically. The researchers noted that exercise can be safely prescribed for people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease.

– Improve balance, strength, flexibility and functionality in the elderly and significantly reduce the risk of falls
Ultimately, it may help older people live independently, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis.

-Reduce pain and improve function in patients with chronic lower back pain

-Support mental health

According to a study of 63 overweight or obese participants, completing hour-long Pilates sessions three times a week for eight weeks had a positive impact on anxiety, depression, and quality of life. Milton adds anecdotally that low-intensity activities like Pilates can help reduce stress.
By adding Pilates sessions to your routine, you can also prepare your body for more demanding strength exercises.

Most of the time, Pilates can be used as a base for strength training, which means that if a person has a lot of instability and a lack of core control, they can start with Pilates and introduce more intense strength training later. , when it is better prepared for it. As for the muscle-building benefits, you’ll start to notice them after doing Pilates twice a week for about six to eight weeks. The beneficial effects on mood and stress reduction will be felt much earlier.

Is Pilates good for weight loss?

Pilates may promote weight loss, but it depends on your activity level, diet, and many other factors. A meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials in overweight or obese adults found that Pilates reduced weight and body fat, but did not affect waist circumference. Most of the studies included in the search compared the effect of adding Pilates to study participants’ routine for a set period of time (8-24 weeks) versus maintaining their current lifestyle. If you don’t exercise and start doing Pilates, chances are you can lose weight.

But be aware that Pilates may not be the most effective form of physical activity for promoting weight loss, if that is your goal. Indeed, the focus is on toning muscles and improving mobility rather than burning as many calories as possible.

Previous research has shown that Pilates does not meet recommendations for improving cardiovascular fitness and that, from an aerobic perspective, it is roughly equivalent to walking 3 km per hour. That means it’s not a heavy calorie-burning workout. It would take about 50 minutes to burn 175-250 calories (compared to a 70 kg person burning 360 calories running for 30 minutes.

How to get started with Pilates workouts?

Start with one or two sessions per week. These workouts can last 20 minutes and you can progress up to an hour as you get stronger and more confident. For most people, it is not necessary to consult a doctor before starting a Pilates session. Pilates is a low impact type of movement, and it is largely therapeutic. You should, however, get clearance from your doctor if you are recovering from an injury, have not been cleared for movement, or have another medical condition that may interfere with your ability to exercise. exercise safely.

There are many ways to practice Pilates, including using specialized equipment. However, if you are just starting out, mat Pilates is the preferred method.

It is advisable to start with a small course or, even better, with private lessons. Class size and quality of instruction are important for beginners. There are many excellent Pilates instructors out there who make sure that all participants (or individual instructors) have good posture and form, that they are using the right technique, and that they are activating the right muscles. On the other hand, in large classes, it is more difficult for instructors to give individual attention to each person. This can lead to poor form and ultimately injury.

The best way to avoid injuries is to learn how to do the Pilates movements correctly. If you do it correctly, you shouldn’t hurt yourself. This is why it is important to master the movements with the help of an instructor before practicing Pilates alone or on an online platform.

How to make Pilates more advanced

Maybe you’ve been doing Pilates for a while and want to increase the intensity. Once you’ve mastered the fundamental principles and language used in Pilates, experiment with other styles, choosing cardio Pilates or higher resistance styles to challenge your practice and strength.

You can also take classes by adding dumbbells, ankle weights, wrist weights, or resistance bands. However, you should always pay attention to the form and know its limits. It’s okay to drop dumbbells or take ankle weights off when form isn’t on point. » If the extra resistance causes you to lift through the wrong muscles or sacrifice form, you are no longer doing the exercise correctly and must drop the weight to avoid injury and ensure that you are getting the most out of the workout .

Nutrition Tips for Pilates

In general, the advice on what to eat before, during and after a Pilates session is the same as for any other exercise. Eat 60 to 90 minutes before training, ideally a mixture of complex carbohydrates and lean proteins, such as two hard-boiled eggs or Greek yogurt and berries. But listen to your body and do what feels right for you.
You don’t have to worry about eating during training, but do drink water to stay hydrated.

Once your session is over, try to refuel within two hours. Fueling up after a Pilates session is no different than fueling up after any other strength or resistance workout.

Other questions about Pilates

Should I warm up before a Pilates session?

No, Pilates has a built-in warm-up. Pilates begins with exercises that warm up the body and get blood and circulation flowing. Each exercise prepares the body for the next, and this continues throughout the routine.

How many calories does Pilates burn?

It’s hard to say since it depends on each individual and the intensity of the workout. Previous research from ACE, mentioned above, showed that a 50-minute session of Pilates for beginners burned about 175 calories, while a 50-minute advanced routine burned 250 calories.

What muscles are used for Pilates?

Pilates primarily works the muscles in the core area, including the abs, glutes, and muscles that run along the spine. It also works the hip stabilizers, abductors, and neck, back, and shoulder muscles.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t try Pilates?

If you are recovering from an injury or have a medical condition, make sure you have your doctor’s clearance. For people with cardiovascular or blood pressure problems, talk to a doctor first. “Sometimes with core exercises, a lot of people hold their breath, which can change blood pressure.

What is the difference between Pilates and yoga?

Pilates places more emphasis on core work than yoga. There are also philosophical differences, with yoga emphasizing the mind-body connection, while Pilates focuses more on the breath.

What should I wear for Pilates?

Wear breathable, comfortable, stretchy, and relatively tight-fitting clothing so the instructor can see your body and correct form if necessary.

Are there common Pilates injuries and how can I avoid them?

Pilates poses no specific injury risk, at least as long as you perform the movements correctly. The best way to avoid injury is to perform Pilates movements correctly and always pay attention to your form.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.