Posted By : Admin / On : January 15, 2024 / In : Health
When it comes to fitness, the saying “variety is the spice of life” holds true for several reasons. Switching things up prevents the boredom that arises from sticking to the same routine (a known motivation killer) and reduces the risk of injury (which can halt your progress – motivated or not).
If you’re looking to add variety to your exercise routine, Pilates proves a solid option with numerous research-backed benefits. Whether you are a dedicated bodybuilder, seasoned endurance athlete, or simply someone who wants to get fitter, this article will explain why Pilates, in particular, can be a valuable addition to your fitness regime.
If you’ve ever attended a Pilates class, you’ve likely heard the phrase “engage your core” (or some variation of it) repeated at least a few times. This is because properly engaging your core throughout your Pilates class serves as the foundation for an effective session. In fact, pretty much all the exercises you do in Pilates will require you to work your core in one way or another.
This means that by consistently practising Pilates, you will build stronger core muscles. Which, in turn, will help you to excel in other forms of exercise.
How? Having a strong core is vital for keeping your spine stabilised, which is hugely beneficial for most forms of movement. For example, this article explains that a stabilised torso helps your muscles to work more smoothly and expend less energy when running, meaning you can run faster, for longer.
Moreover, spinal stability allows you to lift heavier weights and maintain proper form when strength training. Squats, deadlifts, and bench presses (to name a few) all require a strong core for proper execution, further highlighting the far-reaching benefits of Pilates.
Active recovery days – days when you give your body time to recover that still involve some form of movement – are important for optimising your fitness. Fitness professionals advise this sort of recovery over being totally sedentary, as it helps to get the blood moving to your muscles without putting the body under further stress. This can reduce the muscle soreness and stiffness that arises from recovery days that involve no movement at all.
Pilates is great for active recovery days because it involves stretching and low-intensity strength exercises, meaning you can keep your body moving without risking injury. Pilates also has the added benefit of adaptability, so you can adjust your Pilates session to be more or less challenging depending on how you feel. In fact, one study showed that practising Pilates on active recovery days enhanced energy recovery in adults, underpinning it as an excellent option for the days in between high-intensity workouts.
One of Pilates’ fundamental principles is mind-body connection. This basically means that participants are encouraged to actively use their minds to coordinate their movements. Mind-body connection is so important that Joseph Pilates himself stated “man should develop his physical condition simultaneously with that of his mind” – recognising that we get the most out of exercise when we use our minds in tandem with our muscles.
As you begin to master the art of mind-body connection through Pilates, you will be able to reap its benefits in other forms of exercise too. For example, mind-body connection (referred to as mind-muscle connection for other exercises) is proven to stimulate muscle growth. This means that by practising Pilates, you will make quicker progress in other strength-based exercises. Indeed, a 2018 study showed that those who engaged in mind-muscle connection saw a significant increase in muscle growth compared to those who didn’t.
So, by practising mind-body connection in Pilates, you are setting yourself up for success when lifting weights and trying to get stronger.
In essence, integrating Pilates into your fitness journey can have profound benefits for a variety of exercises. Whether you’re sculpting muscles, mastering endurance, or simply seeking an elevated level of fitness, Pilates can help you reach your goals. Want to experience these benefits yourself? We invite you to join a Pilates class in either one of our Godalming or Guildford studios.