Fitness

9 Pilates benefits you probably didn’t know about

9 Pilates benefits you probably didn't know about MAIN

Pilates benefits are plentiful – but you probably don’t know all of them. Expert reveals 9 benefits that will have you booking a class ASAP

Pilates has gained huge popularity in recent years, and it’s clear to see why.

It’s slow, controlled movements offer a myriad of health and fitness rewards that are incomparable. Whether you opt for the reformer, or stick to the mat, you are sure to walk away feeling better than when you got there.

slow, controlled movements offer a myriad of health and fitness rewards

To find out more about the benefits of Pilates, Healthista caught up with Emily Rutherwood, Studio Manager and Trainer at FS8 Oxford Circus, who offers her expert advice on the advantages and benefits you didn’t already know about – aside from having an enviable body…

#1 Pilates is a guaranteed mood booster

As the days get colder and darker during the winter months, our moods may start to dip. One way of boosting mood is taking up Pilates, as it triggers the release of feel-good endorphins as well as serotonin, the happy hormone.

As a result, it can also improve our self-esteem as well as boost our mood.

Doing Pilates in a group class brings can also boost feel-good endorphins, as this creates a sense of togetherness. Working out in a group reignites social connection through building relationships, which helps reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation that people often feel during the winter months.

READ MORE: Fitness at Christmas – stick to your healthy routine with these 7 tips

pilates benefits fs8 oxford circus

#2 Pilates can raise your immune-boosting potential

Winter is commonly known as the dreaded cold and flu season, when peoples’ immune systems aren’t operating at their optimum level.

However, regular participation in Pilates is proven to improve immunity via mechanical and physiological process.

regular participation in Pilates is proven to improve immunity

The emphasis on breathing and mindful movement encourages fight or flight sympathetic nervous system to quiet, reducing stress which research shows can boost immunity.

#3 Pilates will improve core strength and balance

A lot of exercises used in Pilates are all about the abs, but that’s not all it does.

Most moves require proper alignment and challenge your stability to stay balanced, which helps fire up your midsection to give you rock hard abs.

A study recently revealed that after just 12 weeks of Pilates, a majority of people had improved core strength.

READ MORE: Postnatal fitness – 5 safe and effective exercises

Pilates for strength and balance

#4 Pilates can help you to unwind

Whilst exercise helps to release feel-good endorphins, making you feel happy and energised after a workout, they are not always necessarily relaxing.

However, with a class, not only will you feel energised, but you will also feel relaxed as opposed to exhausted, and studies have even found that it can boost mental clarity and encourage positive thoughts.

you have no choice but to leave your stress and the door

The emphasis on precision of movement that includes breath, rhythm and flow, means you have no choice but to leave your stress and the door and have some time just for yourself.

At FS8 Oxford Circus, they offer classes in the morning, lunchtime and evening, so no matter how busy you are, it is easy to find some time to set aside 50-minutes just for yourself, to unwind and relax.

#5 Pilates is a full body workout

Pilates trains the body as an integrated whole, focusing on core, lower body, and upper body strength as well as flexibility and posture.

Attention to core support and full-body fitness, including the breath and the mind, provide a level of integrative fitness that is hard to find elsewhere.

It is also the reason it’s a popular workout in rehab settings, as well as with athletes who find that it’s a great foundation for any kind of movement they do. ​

READ MORE: Could a ‘Sunday Reset’ be the key to a healthier you?

woman on yoga mat

#6 Pilates can help to ease aches and pains

Pilates is often recommended to people who experience lower back pain because of the emphasis on core strength and stability.

It’s also an excellent form of exercise for people who suffer from various aches and pains, as it does not put pressure on the joints.

#7 Pilates will help to fix your posture

Numerous studies have found that Pilates is an effective way to improve balance and postural problems. To position the body correctly requires complex interactions of the bones joints, connective tissues, skeletal muscles and the nervous system.

Helping to correct postural alignment, it also makes you aware of form in all other areas of training and in day-to-day movements.

READ MORE: 20 minute Pilates workout to strengthen your core

woman doing yoga or pilates with her dog

#8 Pilates will increase your flexibility

During strength training, muscles often become short and tight.

Incorporating Pilates along-side can improve your flexibility and mobility by working through full range of motion and all planes of movement. Muscles in turn become long and lean.

#9 Pilates is great to improve coordination

Balance and agility are required to perform smooth and effective movements in strength training.

Pilates trains the nervous system through initiating coordinated movement and controlling correct posture, balance and muscular activity.

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