WOman in exercise studio doing Pilates stretch

There are an estimated 8.5 million people practicing Pilates in the United States. Pilates is often looked down on as an exercise as it focuses on breathing and the way an exercise is done, instead of the exercise itself. However, Pilates improves balance, core strength, posture, and stamina, making it an ideal exercise for everybody, especially those new to exercise, recovering from injuries and as a light exercise on rest days.

New To Exercise

If you’re new to exercise, or it’s been a while, Pilates is a good place to start as you can go at your own pace and build up the movements as your fitness and strength improve. There are lots of online videos and programs that you can follow at home or you can benefit from a qualified instructor at a gym or studio. If your overall aim is to build up to other exercises but your fitness isn’t quite there yet, Pilates is a great place to start as it prepares your body by increasing strength, endurance and improves your form which are skills that can be used in every exercise you do.

Pilates For Active Recovery

Pilates is a great exercise to incorporate into a regular exercise regime, even for those who are very fit and active. Many people take rest days in between workouts to give their body chance to recover, but some prefer to do gentle exercise on these days instead, known as active recovery. This can be a quick 15-minute Pilates routine that helps to stretch out any aching muscles and should be less intense than your regular workouts.

Rehabilitation And Breathing Techniques

Practicing Pilates is ideal for individuals recovering from injuries, illnesses and operations and is increasingly used by physical therapist for rehabilitation. A big part of Pilates is learning breathing techniques and focusing on them while performing the exercise. Taking big breaths in and out uses more of the lungs' capacity than regular breathing does, which is good for lung health. The body also uses a lot of muscles when doing deep breathing, often ones we don’t think about, so before you’ve even started a Pilates workout you’re exercising plenty of muscles. This low-intensity workout can be tailored for those with injuries or recovering from operations, so the body part is still being gently exercised, without risk of more harm.

With the popularity of Pilates, it’s clear that many people are already embracing it. It’s something that anyone who regularly exercises or wants to join the world of fitness should participate in. It’s easy to get involved as there’s little equipment needed and you can teach yourself at home with the help of online videos, or head to a local Pilates class for person-specific advice.

by Jennifer Dawson

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