Pilates is one of the newest exercise theories going around. It was created by Joseph Pilates in the 20th century and is about control and stability. Pilates improves strength, endurance, muscle control, balance and flexibility. Pilates is one of the few exercise regimes that is prescribed by physiotherapists, doctors and many other heath practitioners. Pilates has many modifications which makes it perfect for everyone! No matter the age or fitness level. It is reported to improve balance in the older population, help with rehabilitation after surgery and aid recovery from sporting injuries.
So it is time that I give it a try. Off I pop to a nearby studio to try it out. I have opted for a mixed ability mat class. There are lots of classes around and there are lots new forms of Pilates available such as reformer which uses a sort of machine that you sit and kneel on (maybe next time) or MOTR which is a large tube looking thing with detachable parts that you use during the different exercises (not sure…maybe another time).
The class its self is made up of a highly varied group of people of all ages and genders. We start on our backs with a warm up and move on though different moves, stretches, abdominal exercises all of which are accompanied by controlled breathing with each movement. Everything is about alignment and correct posture. It takes a lot of concentration, control and attention to detail which makes the time pass very quickly. The added benefit of the concentration is that you cannot think about anything else! Your brain is quiet and present, engaged in the activity…this is bliss.
After the class, I am not too sweaty or breathless, but do feel as though I have worked out. I walk home feeling relaxed and ready to face the day.
A few hours later I can notice my abdominals are definitely tired! All that stabilising and breathing has absolutely worked my tummy out.
I will be booking in again and would absolutely recommend Pilates if you have any sort of injury or just want to try something different. I really did find the experience meditational.
Remember Pilates is not the younger sibling of yoga, it is its own person and should be treated as such!