I am sure many of us already heard about Pilates is a refreshing mind-body workout. It emphasizes breathing efficiently, corrects the spine, concentrates on smooth flowing movement, it is gentle but also it is challenging and helps you to tone up.
To put this into more technical context, a very nice and simple roll down&roll up sequence would be helpful to understand the benefits of Pilates in short. For instance, the longer the lever the more muscular effort is required to bring about the contraction. So just consider this, by laying down on the mat with engaged core muscles, straight legs and flexed heels, rolling your spine up and down with extended arms over your head and holding weighted balls just to add even more resistance could have more impact on your body than doing abs crunch 20 times with a fast pace.
As well as it definitely brings control and balance as you need to concentrate a lot to do so and your nervous system has enough time to pass any signals to your muscles. Plus, imagine doing this exercise with proper lateral breathing and give enough time to your muscles to contract efficiently with aerobic breathing! so your body hesitates less and you can take sufficient results in few weeks time. You can sustain both muscular endurance and strength in this way. Articulation through your spine leaves the tension out and your muscles between those life essential discs in your spine might probably work that effectively for the first time as a bonus:))
I know you hear this thing “Pilates” more often than you probably did hear 10 years ago. What is that? As we all know, it is an activity, yes certainly it is a fitness activity, isn’t it? 🙂 At least we all overheard all the stories of our friends about Pilates…They feel relaxed after each class, many manage to tone up already and send all the tension in their body out.
Before diving into technical stuff and giving scientific evidence about why we all need Pilates, it is better to start with a very famous quote…
“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. In order to achieve happiness, it is imperative to gain mastery of your body. If at the age of 30 you are stiff and out of shape, you are old. If at 60 you are supple and strong then you are young.” Joseph Hubertus Pilates
Yes, you haven’t seen wrong…This quote belongs to Joseph Pilates, the creator of Pilates method. So what we are going to discuss through here is Pilates’ method of physical fitness. We should talk about Joseph Pilates and what sort of methodologies he got to offer in another part. Let’s move on to what’s in Pilates for everyone.
What’s going on social media, seriously?
Nowadays there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that Pilates has a whole range of health consequences, there is also reasonable toning up and weight loss results across people that can lead many to give Pilates a go…There is too much attention on social media, so much information to digest and we are all pulled first one way then the other and finally end up with confusion. In such circumstances, putting together some analytical thought along with a little common sense would tell us what should be done.
OK I likely to hear from everyone:
‘I do the school runs everyday by walking’
‘I run since I was eighteen and I am fine’
‘I do gym 3 times a week and I am happy’
Do you really think this is enough? Nope, I am afraid not. Let’s check some arguments.
Please expand below statement from its plus sign to read more.
Muscle density genetically rely on the combination of slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibres. I learnt this very recently as well. Many well-known cardio activities, weight bearing activities serve in the way of exerting fast-twitch fibres. This is fantastic. Fast twitch muscles are good for rapid movements, contract quickly, but get tired fast and do not use oxygen to supply energy which means your body does not still start to burn enough sugar and fat if you do not initiate your slow twitch muscles.
So this is where Pilates comes into play.
Long duration aerobic (where body utilize oxygen usage) exercises like Pilates mainly use slow-twitch fibres. This leads to an increase in your stamina and the oxygen capacity of your muscles, allowing the body to burn energy for longer periods of time.
Basically this is due to the fact that slow twitch fibres consist more mitokondria and more blood vessels. In simple terms with large amount of mitokondria and enough oxygen supply we could burn more sugar as well as fats. Bingo !!
Our metabolic activity has increased since the muscles start to burn more calories in the long run as our nervous system becomes better at recruiting slow twitch muscle fibres which you could barely activate in other exercises like running and gym activities. It makes more sense now why people do tone up with Pilates!
So it is always essential to mix different types of exercises in our exercise plan to improve our total fitness level. If you fancy doing only gym then give your body enough time to activate slow twitch fibres as well by doing less intense exercises with high repetitions and increasing resting time in each intervals.
However what makes Pilates quite popular nowadays is, in general terms, high intensity interval training is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is nice to know with simple modifications one more repeat of micromovements done in Pilates can feel way more painful. So doing Pilates at least twice a week can improve your overall fitness in a number of ways.
In addition, Pilates exercises require serious balance as well as flexibility, which typically isn’t involved in your standard cardio or strength workout.
Me still here have a long way to go, yet stretching far beyond my body allowed couple months ago and being more flexible is an amazing feeling 🙂
This is the very first evidence of why it is better to keep mixing your workouts to recruit all types of muscles fibres or you simply stay sticked to Pilates if you fancy being flexible, toned up, mobile enough all the way through your life.