Find out how pilates can benefit you, how you can get started and finding a pilates class near you.
What is Pilates?
Developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, this physical fitness system is intended to strengthen the mind and body. Pilates may help increase flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance in various parts of the body, namely the legs, abdominals, arms, hips and back. This unique method of exercise is founded on six principles: Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath and Flow.
What makes pilates one of the best methods of exercise is that it can be modified to make it safe and challenging for different types of people at any level of physical fitness.
Benefits of Pilates
To say that pilates is highly beneficial is an understatement. Beginners will have no problems getting acclimated to the exercise – it is gentle and safe enough to be used in physical therapy for those who are undergoing rehabilitation after sustaining injuries. Many of the exercises are low impact and, in some measure, weight bearing, and are carried out in either reclining or sitting positions.
That said, pilates exercises can be modified to help people get the workout that best suits them, with difficulty ranging from beginning to advanced. As your conditioning improves, you may increase the intensity of your workout for maximum benefit.
Since this method of exercise also emphasizes proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment and precise movements, you will learn to become more aware of your body even in your daily life outside of the pilates studio.
Pilates will help you to develop a strong core, gain long, lean muscles and increase your flexibility in the long run. It is now also used as part of the training regiment for most professional sports teams to help improve their performance and prevent injuries.
Getting Started – Find Local Pilates Classes
Pilates classes are gaining popularity these days. In fact, the New York Times states that the Pilates Method Alliance, a professional association, has reported that the number of Americans who practiced the discipline regularly grew from 1.7 million to 11 million between 1991 and 2005, and the number of instructors increased from 200 to 14,000 in the same period. Here are a few tips to finding the best pilates classes in your area.
- Ask for referrals from someone who knows a pilates studio or instructor. Even if you only happen to overhear someone talking about their pilates class, don’t hesitate to ask them about their experience and the studio’s contact information.
- Inquire at fitness centers, gyms, or recreation centers – chances are they also offer pilates classes. Find out if the classes are taught by qualified pilates instructors.
- Check your local phone book and go down the list. Make calls and ask questions so you can learn all about the local pilates classes offered.
- The Internet is also a valuable tool if your goal is to find pilates class near you. It would be a good idea to check the pilates studios’ websites to find out what classes they offer, their schedules and the instructors’ credentials before you actually head out to the gym and sign yourself up for a class.
Online Pilates Training
You also have the option of attending online pilates classes. There are many pilates websites that offer workouts, exercise instructions and techniques, as well as instructions when using pilates equipment, including reformer exercises. Most online pilates classes come with a fee since they are very in-depth, however you may be able to find free pilates classes online as well.