When it comes to Pilates or Yoga, I always thought these types of workouts to be a waste of time and energy. Why spend an hour stretching when you could be burning calories by lifting weights or taking a HIIT class? Well, after suffering with a bad back and repetitive injuries from running, I decided read up about the benefits of Pilates and give it a go!
My first Pilates class
At first it seemed like it was going to be a complete waste of my time, breathing in and out, rocking back and forth, cringe! But, after about 10 minutes in, I could really start to feel my core at work! The combination of slow breathing and controlled movements ‘hits your core’ and you can feel it eliminating the imbalance of muscle in your abs!
By the end of the class, my whole body was relaxed and I felt like i’d grown about a foot taller! Even though the exercises are low intensity and seem pretty basic, by concentrating on your breathing for so long, without realising it you completely ‘zone out’ and forgot all about the stresses of the day.
Pilates improves your performance!
After just 2 weeks of going to Pilates classes, I could already feel the benefits in all my other workouts! Because all of your muscles connect back to your core, when you build up strength in this area it will give you more of an impact when training other muscles.
When you think about what muscles are actually at work for each exercise, it makes sense that your core is the most important one that you should train. From Lunges to dumbbell curls, every movement you make links back to your core.
Next time you work out, think about what muscles you are actually using and I bet your core is one of them!
Strengthening your core prevents injury
So, what exactly is your core? Your core is made up of a series of complex muscles, extending far beyond your abdominals, including everything besides your arms and legs. It is incorporated in almost every movement of your body.
By strengthening your core, you are enhancing your overall stability and facilitating a wide variety of movements including; jogging, cycling, jumping jacks, crossfit and many more! When your movements are powered by a strong core you are far less likely to incur an injury.
Since discovering my love of running a few years back, I’ve only ever had one injury that impacted my performance. During my training for my first 10K, I made the mistake of ‘over training’ and anyone who runs will tell you that rest is essential to preventing injury! I had what they call “Patellofemoral pain syndrome” (or “runner’s knee), which is caused by the repetitive force of pounding on the pavement and lack of rest between workouts. Since taking up Pilates, I’ve found that the usual tender pain around the knee has eased off significantly!
So what are the main benefits of Pilates?
- Develop Core stability
- Corrects posture
- Invigorates the mind
- Better balance
- Increased flexibility
- Reduced injury risk
- Greater stamina & Strength
- Increase energy levels
- Reduce back pain
- Strengthened pelvic floor
If you’re thinking about trying Pilates, check out the video below for a quick 20 Minute Tone & Shape, Pilates for Beginners workout. Try this workout in the morning or before bed a few times per week and see if you notice the benefits!