Joseph Pilates invented his signature fitness method almost a century ago. It’s known for its impressive health benefits, including some that few people are aware of.
It’s safe to say that the exercise program known as Pilates, along with modern variations of it such as Barre Pilates, reached “trendy workout” status at some point in the last decade. Are you wondering if it lives up to the hype?
While Pilates probably can’t solve all the world’s problems (or even replace the cardio in your workout—sorry), medical researchers back up many of the claims about how it can improve multiple aspects of your health. Let’s go over a few you may not know.
Pilates and mental health
There’s a growing cultural understanding that exercise is about more than having a fit body. While it strengthens your core and helps you become more flexible, Pilates also does a lot for the mind.
At least one study on Pilates indicates that practicing it can help reduce stress. This may be in part due to the controlled breathing exercises, which can downregulate the nervous system.
If you can motivate yourself to get down on that mat, your Pilates routine may help you get through the rest of the day. Don’t believe me? Check out this study.
Since Pilates exercises target specific muscles, it requires focus to maintain correct form. Concentrating during Pilates may help you stay focused in other areas of your life, too.
Reduces postpartum maternal fatigue
The postpartum period can be a tough time for moms, but a Pilates routine might actually be able to help them boost their energy levels, according to this NIH study.
Relieves back pain
Back pain is a common problem that can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle, bad posture, or being on your feet all day, among other things. Luckily, Pilates has proven to be an effective remedy, especially for persistent lower back pain.
Helps prevent injuries
Pilates is a kind of functional fitness regimen, meaning it trains muscle groups that we use for day-to-day movements, like bending down to pick something up. By strengthening these muscles and improving our flexibility, we reduce the risk of hurting ourselves next time we decide to move some furniture around, for example.
Improves athletic performance
Practicing Pilates is a common way for athletes to improve performance, no matter what their main sport is. At one point in its evolution, Pilates was known for being popular among dancers.
Enhances sleep quality
Getting good rest is fundamental for your mood and overall health. Studies have found that Pilates can increase sleep quality in people under 40. Just don’t fall asleep on the mat!
Helps build strong bones
We all know about calcium for strong bones, but did you know that exercise is also key? In this study, researchers found that Pilates can even help women with postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Can be very accessible
Ok, Pilates classes don’t have a reputation for being the most affordable. We recommend searching for inexpensive Pilates studios where you live, but if you don’t have cash for a class, there are endless video tutorials online.
If you do go the online route, just be sure to start with beginner-friendly exercises and don’t push your body past its limits—building strength takes time!
Wondering what you need for your first class? Some teachers use a Pilates ball, but it’s not necessary to buy one if you’re starting out at home. You will need a mat and some Pilates clothes (a comfortable top and leggings will do). If you’re in the market for sustainable Pilates clothes, we invite you to read our blog post about sustainable fashion.
From Athlefit Apparel, we wish you the best exploring the amazing world of Pilates!