Friday, May 2, 2008

Built Core Strength With Pilates

Pilates uses the mind to control the muscles.The program focuses on the core postural muscles which help keep the body balanced and which are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and alignment of the spine, and aim to strengthen the deep torso muscles. Pilates improves your mental and physical well-being, increases flexibility, and strengthens core muscles. People who do pilates regularly feel they have better posture, are less prone to injury, and experience better overall health. If you want to work your body to the core, try Pilates

There are two forms of Pilates. They are: Mat-based and Equipment-based. Mat-based Pilates is a series of exercises performed on the floor using gravity and your own body weight to provide the resistance. The objective is to condition the deeper, supporting muscles of the body to improve posture, balance and coordination. Equipment-based Pilates – uses specific equipment such as the “Reformer,” which looks like a rowing machine that you push and pull along the floor. These classes can be easier for beginners because the machines support you when you do the movements.

There is a lot more to Pilates than just exercise. You have to have correct breathing, which is very important. Pilates helps develop your core strength, little bit complicated. You then have to learn to isolate certain muscle groups, for instance pelvic floor and the abdominal muscle. It took me a couple of months and two private sessions a week to learn how to do most of it correctly. Once you can stabilize the hips, back and abdomen only then can you move into the 'exercises'. However once you learn the correct techniques, it always comes back to you. It remains with you. It is like skating, or riding a bike. If you do not learn all this then the actual exercises will be all for nothing. You want quality, not quantity. And it can be dangerous as well, and you can do yourself more harm than good.

I started Pilates and yoga for balance, flexibility, and core strength to help me with figure skating. I do have to say the overall result is great; including health-wise. You don’t need to spend “mega” bucks on equipments for Pilates; I do recommend the mat and the ball. The ball gets deflated for easy storage. There is plenty of information available for anyone interested, but I do advise investing in an introductory class, for proper guidance and proper form. Those are of extreme importance. It is a worthwhile investment. Once the theory is grasped, the rest is really up to you. Not much equipment is required. You actually have to use your own body weight to build muscle mass.

Pilates is designed to combine your breathing rhythm with your body movements. It relies on a variety of special body movements which strengthen, and tone the various muscle groups of the body. It is a series of controlled movements engaging your body and mind, promoting physical harmony and balance for people of all ages and physical conditions. Don’t expect to see immediate results. It will take a few weeks before you’ll see changes in your body. Combine your sessions with some heart-pumping activities and Pilates can help you achieve total body fitness – endurance, flexibility, strength, and balance. Proper breathing is important as well as posture. It is very important to do Pilates using the proper form, because if you do it wrong, it will be self defeating.

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