Pilates teaches you to find neutral alignment in a variety of positions: standing, sitting, lying down, side-lying and kneeling on all fours. Learning what is good, neutral alignment for your body will help you transfer this knowledge to your daily life, for example, when sitting at a desk, carrying shopping bags or standing on a crowded train. You will find it easier to sit up or stand up straight and will look taller as a result. You will also learn how to reduce tension in your neck and shoulders.
Strengthened abdominal and pelvic floor muscles (your 'core')
Pilates focuses on starting each movement with an engaged core, which stabilises you and helps protect your spine as you move. Strong abdominal muscles have been shown to be a factor in reduced back pain. A strong pelvic floor is also a factor of increased sexual pleasure and can help prevent incontinence later in life. After a few weeks of regular Pilates practice you will find yourself 'engaging' without really thinking about it, especially when you approach a more challenging movement, such as picking up a heavy object, or reaching for a high shelf.
More flexibility, especially in your spine
Pilates movements such as the Bridge, Roll down or Hip Twist gently mobilise the spine with control. This extra flexibility will make your daily movements a little more flowing and relaxed.
Increased body awareness
Pilates sessions teach you to link up movement to breath to core engagement, you're encouraged to work in alignment, observe how your body naturally moves and make any adjustments that are needed. For example, a lot of us have hyperflexible elbows or knees that want to knock together when we bend them. While there is nothing 'wrong' with any natural body shape, there are benefits to learning how to align our joints for best performance, and the practice of Pilates will help you do that.
An overall stronger, leaner and taller appearance
Pilates is a whole body work out - Pilates session will work most muscle groups in your body: legs, bum, upper back, arms, and of course your tummy including the deep abdominal core and the more superficial six-pack (Rectus Abdominis) and obliques. With a small number of controlled repetitions, a Pilates work out will give your muscles a leaner, more toned look, strengthening them without bulking up.
If you think you any of these benefits in your life, book a Pilates class today and give it a go!