If you’re looking for a workout that challenges you and offers complete body transformation while being gentle on the joints, Pilates might be just what the doctor ordered.
It’s often believed that high intensity exercises are the only way to sculpt our bodies. While they might burn maximum calories, if your chosen exercise is constantly hard-hitting it can lead to joint pain and muscle imbalances. This is where Pilates comes in.
Whether on a mat or a reformer, it might not get your heart racing in the same way HIIT does, but through strength-building, flexibility and functional movements, it can create an overall slimming effect.
How, you might ask? We often forget the important connection between our physique and postural alignment. So by correcting your posture and improving your core strength, you actually feel and look taller.
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.
“Every body is different in the way we move and how our bodies respond to movement,” says Kirsten King, founder of Fluidform Pilates.
“This can change day-to-day or even morning to night and often we misjudge what our bodies need, leaving us to feel dissatisfied with results or over-worked, creating this unwanted ‘bulk’.”
Yes, sitting at a desk all day absolutely contributes to this bulk, but so too can heavily weighted workouts which leave the muscles shortened and feeling tight.
Pilates, on the other hand, “aims to fatigue the muscles, building strength and tone creating that ‘slimming’ effect and long, lean muscles,” says Kristen.
It’s, therefore, the ideal complement to your high-intensity workouts; if your muscles are equal and your body is balanced, you’re less likely to injure yourself at times when you’re asking more of your body.
It can also address muscular issues that come from everyday activities like sitting at a desk.
“Pilates is all about perfecting our form and consistency, integrating a series of functional movements based on aligning our bodies and building muscular strength to tone, lift and lengthen our bodies.”
In addition to your physical being, Pilates can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Controlled breathing is an essential part of the practice, which leads to decreased cortisol levels, making you feel calmer. Higher cortisol levels stimulate glucose production, which can then turn into fat, so there are physical consequences to increased stress.
Just in case you had your doubts, Pilates really is the ultimate workout.