Have you reached a plateau with your dedicated workout regimen? Are you frustrated that your heart and muscles are no longer responding to the weekly repetition of your weight training, cycling, or yoga? There is an optimal, rejuvenating solution to your exercise stasis: Pilates! In the last year, Mia Brazilia has traveled to myriad pilates studios throughout San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, and Riverside Counties in Southern California, hosting our ever more popular Mia Brazilia Trunk or “Pop Up” Shows. During these Mia Brazilia shows, I have been introduced to Pilates personally and am amazed at the aerobic and anaerobic benefits of this popular form of fitness training. The following list of five benefits of Pilates highlight the tremendous health and fitness upside to this remarkable hobby:
1.) Weight Loss
- Under proper technique and instruction, Pilates enables the practitioner to lose weight in combination with a healthy, balanced diet. The typical 45-50 pilates session will provoke a caloric burn session in the range of 4-8 calories per minute, depending on level of intensity. The challenging core stabilization and rotational steps in a pilates session challenges both your primary and secondary muscle groups as well as your heart and lungs. Once you have progressed with your pilates experience and are able to take intermediate and advanced classes, try to schedule three to four sessions per week to maximize your weight loss goals.
2.) Strengthen Bone Density
- As women age, our body’s bone density also decelerates and weakens, exposing our body to the heightened risk of fracture and injury. Pilates is an idyllic, countervailing influence on the body’s bone density level by challenging the body’s functional tissue through resistance and weight-bearing exercises. When processing a pilates movement, the muscles of your body pull on bone to create a natural tension that strengthens the bone. Apparatus springs and resistance bands utilized during a typical pilates session are great resistance and tension-builders.
3.) Alleviate Back Pain
- Another stark reality of the aging process is the increased risk of developing back pain. Repetitive motions, weight gain, and poor, postural awareness often contribute to stress on the vertebral discs and connective tissue of the spine. Pilates is a wonderful antidote to this common occurrence. Pilates can dramatically strengthen the transverse abdominal and rectus abdominal muscles of the core region, instruct proper, corrective alignment and provide transparent stretching for formerly tight back muscles due to misalignment and over-training. The Swan Prep and Roll Up are only two of the Pilates maneuvers that one can master to further stabilize the back.
4.) Develop Your Core
- If you’ve always struggled like most people to develop that enviable, “six pack” abdominal region, Pilates affords the opportunity to fire up and engage those long-dormant, pesky abdominal muscles. On almost every Pilates move, the underlying importance of efficient contraction of your abdominal muscles is manifest and ever-present. Thus, you will not be able to perform a successful pilates pose WITHOUT maintaining correct alignment and proper form. During the snowplow technique, the abdominals must retain contraction in order to keep the spine in a stable position to permit the fulfillment of the exercise. Most abdominal stations at a gym only touch upon the superficial abdominals of the human body i.e.. the rectus abdominus; pilates advances beyond the superficial and actively engages the DEEP, secondary abdominals i.e.. the transverse abdominis. Activating the deeper, secondary core muscle groups ultimately provides the desirable, ripped “six pack” abs.
5.) Increase Flexibility and Lower Injury Risk
- While most exercise activities only afford movement in one plane of motion, Pilates offers bodily exposure to multiple planes of motion. A qualified pilates instructor will introduce you to a dynamic range of exercises that will initiate the spine from flexion to extension, internal rotation to external rotation, and side bending, delivering an increased range of motion throughout your body. This evolving improvement in flexibility serves as a powerful therapeutic to injury risk. You will marvel at how your improved body awareness will mitigate stress on the joints and the accompanying tendon and ligament connective tissue of your body.
As the host of Mia Brazilia trunk shows at a multitude of Southern California pilates studios, I have been amazed at the phenomenal growth and popularity of Pilates throughout the country over the last few years. However, after personally taking pilates classes at each of these Mia Brazilia stops, I quickly discovered that the cause was simply a mute testimony to the dynamic, incontrovertible health benefits derived from this alluring, fitness activity. The opportunity for healthy weight-loss, strengthened bone density, reduced back pain, improved core development, and increased flexibility are all attractive inducements to take the plunge and embrace Pilates as an optimal alternative to any stagnation in your fitness regimen. You will NOT regret it!