WHY PILATES? The importance of slow and controlled fitness modalties
While the fitness industry is seeing growth in hard hitting workout styles such as boxing, mixed martial arts, Crossfit and high intensity interval training (HIIT), the need for more slow and controlled fitness modalities has become more obvious than ever.
Pilates is well known for its ability to mold and shape bodies that perform better in other fitness activities, as well as in everyday life. And yet there remains a large population of health-club-goers who still believe a trapeze is for circus acts and a Cadillac is for luxury driving. Pilates is a must for those who expect a lot from their bodies. The following offers a small sample of the many benefits Pilates has to offer.
Increased flexibility equals increased mobility throughout life, and decreased risk for injury. Like yoga, Pilates incorporates stretching into its choreography, which means those halfhearted before-and-after stretches don’t have to carry you through a tough workout alone (not that they ever really did).
If breathing is the physical key to attaining mind-body awareness, then concentration is the mental key. Pilates calls for intense concentration because successful execution is less about the number of reps you do, and more about proper form. A recent study from two universities in China measured changes in brain activity in participants after 10 weeks of Pilates and found increases in neural network activity, memory performance and in other cognitive functions.
Each Pilates exercise focuses on your core (not just “abs” – the core includes abdominals, hips, glutes, back muscles and deep stabilizer muscles that connect your legs to your spine). Pilates’ principle of “centering” gets your breath working with your core muscles to strengthen and lengthen your entire abdominal area in a short amount of time. (It’s no wonder those “hundreds” hurt so good.) With diligence, determination and the right nutrition, Pilates is specifically suited to those hoping to uncover the enviable curves and cuts that define a “six pack” RELIEF FROM BACK PAIN Working your core trains your back, glutes and the entire area that helps your body support your spine. Strong core muscles mean the burden of supporting your body’s weight isn’t just placed on your bones. Pilates is about balancing the body so that all the muscles work together to create a healthy, anatomically correct spine. IMPROVED PERFORMANCE IN OTHER WORKOUTS Cross training with Pilates is a no-brainer. In addition to decreasing risk for injury, increasing core strength and improving mobility, Pilates can boost the efficiency of movements in workouts such as yoga and Body Attack, and teach you breathing methods and focus that keep you calm and centered through high-pressure workouts such as Crossfit and Body Combat. If you want big-name proof, consider what top athletes like Lebron James (NBA), Kerry Walsh (Olympic Volleyball gold medalist), Kobe Bryant (NBA), Tiger Woods (PGA), Sonya Richards (Olympic runner) and many others have in common. They ALL use Pilates to improve their performance.