Health and Wellness: Understanding Pilates and Its Benefits
Pilates by definition is a type of exercise consisting of low-impact muscular strength, endurance movements and flexibility, emphasizing in alignment of posture, strengthening the core and balance of the muscles. It is consisting of different exercises or movements strengthening and stabilizing the body core, promotes muscle endurance and control, increasing the body’s flexibility and overall strength. Pilates not just promote physical health but also improve mental health for overall total body conditioning, correcting alignment, concentration, centering, precision, control, breathing and flowing movement.
The core area of the body is the between your shoulders and your pelvis excluding the arms and legs, and it includes all muscles comprising it. Transverse abdominal muscle, pelvic floor and multifidus muscles are considered essential intrinsic core muscles, which are tone and strengthened by Pilates movements. Pilates exercises are beneficial for regaining strength from our daily activities as the movements are geared towards proper posturing, prevention of muscle bulking and shortening, and strengthening the core alleviate and prevent neck, back and joint pains. Doing Pilates also promotes overall slimming, increased mobility, improved stance and posture, feeling of inner strength, relieving stress and relaxing your mind.
Pilates is not a type of exercise that will leave you tired after, instead you will feel more energized, having a positive mindset, feeling stronger and in control as you have just faced a challenging workout. Warm-up toning, flattening the belly, and working on the arms to promote circulation are used in Pilates. In Pilates, you need to lie on your back, lifting your legs in a seventy-five degree angle, lifting the head and shoulders with your arms in your sides, and palms facing down, while pumping up and down and a series of inhalation and exhalation five counts each until you reach one hundred breaths. The different movements and exercises in Pilates are roll-up, single-leg circles, single-leg stretch, sine stretch, mermaid side bend, side kick and crisscross.
Roll-ups start when you lie on the mat with your hands overhead and then slowly rolling up to sit-up, reaching your feet similar to sit-ups. Single-leg stretching works the body’s transverse abdominal muscle, which is done by lying on your back, lifting your head and shoulders off the floor, and then extending your right leg into the air at a forty-five degree angle, inhaling and hugging your left knee into your chest, and vice-versa for ten repetitions. Spine stretching promotes lengthening the back and hamstrings, wherein the legs are spread hip-width, with your feet flexed apart, stretching your arms in front, while exhaling and lowering your head between the arms, then finally inhaling and starting the procedure all over.
Pilates has many benefits not just physically but also mentally, socially and spiritually.