While it’s an exercise form dating back to the 1920s and founded by physical trainer Joseph Pilates for the purpose of rehabilitation, Pilates has hit the scenes recently, taking the health and fitness scene by storm – with loads of studios popping up left, right and centre.
But why is Pilates the real game changer? And what can it give you that other forms of exercise can’t? We get to the bottom of why Pilates is the real workout game changer when it comes to sculpting, toning and achieving your best mental and physical state.
Truth is, most of the fast-paced, quick fix, ‘get that burn’ workouts of today call on global muscles (quads, glutes etc.) to power you through a workout. While this gets the heart pumping and the adrenaline flowing, it doesn’t strengthen those real deep core muscles of our body.
Pilates gives you the skills to activate those core muscles (FUN FACT: they are under your six-pack), so that your movements become effortless and efficient as opposed to forced or pressurised.
Joseph Pilates himself spoke often about Pilates being like an “internal shower”, in other words, an incredible power that each human can and should learn in order to feel their true strength.
Actually, Mr. Pilates would maybe have said that Pilates gives you the movement of an animal! Why? Both the dancer and the animal share qualities such as grace, power, balance, control, and flow. Yet maybe, it is the idea of “effortless effort” they both have when it comes to a movement that really is captured in the Pilates work.
When strength comes from the correct place and when a movement is executed with the whole body working in correct balance, the result will tone and sculpt your body in ways no other exercise form can.
How? When a body executes movement using the full system in correct proportion, the muscles get leaner and longer and the spine elongates. The stomach does become flatter and defined too.
Pilates is not a quick fix! While Joseph Pilates famous quoted was that you would see a whole new you in 30 days, we must remember that in those days, Mr. Pilates had his clients in the studio three-to-four times a week!
In a Pilates class, you will learn strength and understand the ‘secret power’ of this incredible discipline. From this, you will understand how Pilates is the secret to longevity. The work is challenging but with commitment and discipline, there’s no holding you back from feeling and looking your fast.
In the beginning, Joseph Pilates called this form of exercise, “Contrology”, or the ‘Art of Control” and his early writings spoke often of the connection between the brain and the body. How many times have you been to the gym and tried to watch TV or read a book or chat to a friend, just so that you can distract yourself a little and stay on the treadmill a few more minutes? Whilst that is fun and as its benefits, real change can only happen if the brain sources a new pattern in the body. Pilates challenges you to find the muscles or the source of a movement yourself (No easy copying of the instructor!). It is when your brain actually understands how to control a movement that that movement can become a habit for you!
These tips were provided by Michelle Koton, Founder MPower Pilates and Pilates Instructor
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