Pilates has been gaining popularity in recent years, but is it worth all the hype? The short answer is YES! Pilates is a low-intensity exercise that focuses on building strength and stability. There are multiple benefits associated with doing pilates routinely, including improved coordination and balance, injury prevention, better posture, and stress management.
Who should try pilates? Everyone and anyone! It’s easy on your joints and safe for all ages and body types.
You might be wondering how this type of exercise differs from yoga, another common low-intensity workout. It turns out that pilates and yoga share many benefits, both mental and physical. While yoga’s roots can be traced back to ancient India, pilates is a relatively new form of exercise. It was created in the 1920s to help soldiers rehabilitate after World War 1. Pilates sets itself apart with its focus on strengthening the core and engaging it even while strengthening other parts of the body.
How can you get started with pilates? Try adding a few beginner pilates moves to your existing exercise routine! All you need is a yoga mat and a designated space where you can move your body freely.
The 100. “The 100” is a great warmup to get your core engaged. While lying on your back, draw your legs into a tabletop position, with your shins parallel to the floor. Hold on to behind your thighs and curl your body up. Hover your arms and start to pulse your arms up and down in small movements, inhaling for 5 counts and exhaling for 5 counts. Do this ten times total (or for 100 total counts). If at any point you feel the move is too difficult, pause and restart when ready.
Leg Circles. This is another exercise that engages those core muscles. Lay down on your mat and extend one leg towards the sky with the other leg flat on the floor. Move your raised leg in large, controlled, clockwise circles, as though you are drawing circles in the air with your foot. Do this five times, then reverse the circles and switch legs.
Glutes Bridges. Start by lying on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet about hip distance apart. While inhaling, press your heels into the mat, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips off the floor, forming a straight line from knees to shoulders. Exhale and lower your hips to the mat. Repeat 20 times.
Single Leg Stretch. While lying on your back, bring both knees to your chest. Engage your core, lift your head and shoulder off the mat, and wrap your hands around your thighs. Exhale and bring your left left leg out in front of you at a 45 degree angle keeping your back flat on the mat. Inhale, then exhale and switch legs. Do 8 to 10 reps.
Swimmers. This exercise helps tone your back muscles. Start by lying face-down on the mat with your arms stretched out overhead. Draw your belly button in and lift your right arm and left leg off the floor. Keep your gaze down so you don’t arch your back. Switch sides and continue in a “swimming” motion for 20 reps.
After you’ve given some of these exercises a try, be sure to explore the workouts on Fitbit Premium! There are many core exercises and other pilates-focused videos to take your pilates practice to the next level.
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