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When I started doing Pilates, I was a bit sceptical. I was scared that this is more a stretch and balance workout. The first night after doing it I told my mother I don’t think I will be attending the next class because of no muscle pain. I wanted to feel that my muscles were tired. Don’t be fooled by the impact Pilates has on your body. The next morning every single muscle in my body was begging for mercy. I have been doing this for a month now and already started receiving the benefits of Pilates.

What is Pilates:

Pilates is a low impact exercise which aims to strengthen muscle while improving postural alignment and flexibility. Pilates main focus is on the core (do not be fooled, it focusses on other areas of your body as well). Pilates can be used without equipment; the exercise done in Pilates requires precise movements and controlled breathing.

Benefits of Pilates:

1. Can ease back pain:

Lets all face it a strong core is the most amazing thing ever seen! A strong core helps you to get a better back. What do we mean by this? Doing Pilates helps strengthen the core which helps take off that extra weight from your lower back. WOW!
Here are a few excises to help relieve back pain:

1. Pelvic Tilt or Imprinting:

This is an easy one! This helps to get the core muscles switched on and builds strength in the support system of your spine.

>How to do it:

  1. Lay on back, relax all your muscles and curve bent your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.

  2. Breathe out, gently engage and “lift” pelvic floor muscles, pull the navel towards the spine, this way your lower back should be “imprinted” on the floor.

  3. Breathe in and relax the muscles, return to Neutral Spine.

2. Chest Lifts

Chest lift is a core and abdominal strengthening excise. A bit of a harder one but still do-able.

How to do:

  1. vLay back in natural spine, bend your knees, place feet flat on the floor and hands behind your neck.

  2. Breathe out lifting your head and chest. REMEMBER: KEEP YOUR STOMACH PULLING FLAT.

  3. Breathe in and lay head down

If you can, put your feet at table top and take it from there.

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2. Improves your sport performance

When your core becomes your focus point, you start to realize how many muscles are connected to your core. Improving your core helps to improve sport abilities like running, yoga, and every other ability while you are doing sport.

3. Makes you more flexible

Improving your flexibility is a well-known benefit of Pilates. During my first class I struggled to touch my toes, but as I continued to exercise touching my toes become a joke. During this time, I could feel my muscles loosening a little more with each class I did. You remember those exercises you thought were hard, well they become more accessible. You will notice the pain and aches start to disappear as you become more and more flexible. Your muscles are all connected ie. a tight hamstring may lead to flattering the lumbar spine which causes back pain.

4. It is easy on your joints

Pilates is a slow controlled movement, this exercise puts minimal impact on your wrist. Pilates is gentle and doesn’t add any stress on your cartilage that surround the joints.

5. Builds Muscle strength

This is one of the main reasons I started it, but felt unsure if it did anything after the first class. Do not underestimate the amount of muscles you use to do Pilates. Pilates helps tighten the core and tone your muscles. Building your muscles through Pilates you balance them with flexibility. When you’re only doing weights, you do improve your muscles with a lack of flexibility. Let’s face it strong muscles do look GOOD!

6. This is an exercise any one can do.

We already established that Pilates is a slow and controlled movement. This makes it the perfect exercise for anyone doesn’t matter if you are flexible, in or out of shape or young or old. This is a great exercise for the whole family.

7. Increases blood flow

How? The exercises you do helps increase the blood flow, more specifically the blood flow in your hands and feet. Pilates helps get more oxygen to your blood cells. The more flexible you are the easier it is to for your blood to circulate in your body. This helps to promote cell growth, organ function and helps give you healthier skin.

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