Strengthen your core and increase flexibility with Pilates
May is National Pilates Month. I began practicing Pilates nine years ago after a friend recommended it to me. I was trying to tone up and had been exercising regularly, but I was still flabby – especially in my abdominal region. I started doing Pilates and I was hooked! These exercises energized me and made me stronger and leaner. Even my stubborn stomach started to get toned!
This said, I admit I have fallen away from both my Pilates and yoga practices, which prior to this, I had always enjoyed and practiced regularly. So what better time to start up my practice again, or try something new, right? Beginning this National Pilates Month of May, I find myself excited to pull out my mat and tackle the One Hundred and the Teaser, yet again!
If you’ve been looking for something new to add to your exercise regimen or have just been curious about Pilates, now is a great time to try this gentle, yet extremely effective series of exercises named after its creator Joseph Pilates (pi-lah-teez.) There is a fun, informative video on YouTube that gives the roots and history of Pilates. Check it out… History of Pilates on YouTube…
So..Are you curious? Intrigued? I thought you would be! Some of the key features and advantages of Pilates are that it is whole-body focussed fitness, improving posture and body awareness thru regular practice. It strengthens the core and increases flexibility, both in your body and in your practice. Because you can perform these exercises with a simple mat or on apparatus, you can customize your practice to fit your needs and fitness level.
If you plan on trying Pilates, I recommend doing your homework first. The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler gives extremely detailed directions on the proper form and method of Pilates. I highly recommended this easy-to-follow, quick read to prevent injury and to learn the best form for your practice, which is of vital importance. I appreciate the explanations and theories of each exercise, which I still find myself referring back to even after years of practice.
Once you’ve read the book, I suggest you check out some DVDs. I love Gaiam’s Ana Caban for her direction, pace and alignment in her DVDs. She is down to earth and not in your face like some fitness instructors. That’s a definite plus in my book! She also gives you instruction based on your individualized fitness level. I recommend starting with her Pilates Beginning Mat Workout. Once that is mastered, challenge yourself to her Pilates Intermediate Mat Workout. I have LOTS of Pilates and yoga DVDs and equipment, most of which came from Gaiam. They offer a huge variety of DVDs, naturalistic products and workout gear. I recommend exploring their site if you want a new workout challenge or maybe you just need a yoga mat. This is a trusted affiliate and I receive a small percentage of the sale. The link below gives you free shipping if you order from them.
In summary, Pilates gives you an effective, quick workout that will leave you energized, stronger and leaner in only 30 minutes. With my lack of spare time, this short time commitment appeals to me. I have personally seen results from these workouts. If you do these workouts regularly, you’ll see and feel the results also.
I am not a doctor by any means, so make up your own mind and give it a try. Any thoughts? Were you intrigued enough to try Pilates for yourself? Happy May and Zen on, Peeps!