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The Benefits of Pilates Classes

A carefully structured Pilates program will reap benefits in terms of body sculpting, enhanced fitness levels, improved flexibility and general well-being. In Preston, Pilates classes have really taken off in recent years – proof of the effectiveness of this unique exercise style. Here, we outline some of the benefits of Pilates classes.

General health

Pilates concentrates on posture, and the big core muscles of the abdomen, an area much neglected in everyday life and a common source of back problems. Other health benefits include improved digestion, decreased stress levels, lowered blood pressure and general ease of movement.

The whole-body exercise approach.

Some types of exercise over-target specific body areas, and neglect others, causing imbalances within the body. Pilates classes focus on core strength and whole-body alignment, exercising every area including the mind and breathing muscles. The result is balanced muscular development, improved ranges of movement and flexibility in all joints.

Effective, low impact exercise that’s accessible to all

Preston Pilates teachers run classes for every type of individual, from seniors and pregnant mothers to athletes and dancers – who particularly benefit from the movements. Pilates is an effective, progressive alignment, toning and core conditioning program that can be started at any age, by any fitness level. It will complement any existing fitness programme you’re on, such as aerobics, dance classes, swimming or weight training – improving your performance in these areas too.

Lean, sculpted body contours – without bulk

Pilates creates strength without bulk, the result being long, lean muscles and an aesthetically pleasing look. Even elite strength athletes and bodybuilders are using Pilates techniques today, realising the benefits they can bring to the physique. The Swiss Ball has taken over from the sit-up bench in many weights gyms.

The secret to Pilates success is eccentric contraction – the act of lengthening the muscle as it resists a force. This is the opposite to concentric contraction, the act of shortening the muscle against a force and the way in which most strengthening exercises work (for example, the bicep curl). In its simplest form, a Pilates class uses resistance to gravity via mat-based exercises, to do eccentric contractions. Some teachers use exercise balls and resistance bands to add variety. This makes Pilates a cheap, but effective exercise choice that can also be done at home.

Flexibility, core strength – and no backache

Pilates teachers work towards safely increasing the range of motion of joints, so you can stretch and bend more easily. This means you are less at risk of hurting yourself in everyday life.

By working the deep core muscles of the abdomen, lower back and pelvic floor, Pilates gives you a strong supple back, balanced movement and good posture, supporting the body frame and relaxing the neck and shoulders. The result is a graceful, healthy body with superb posture and wash-board abdominals.

Weight loss and increased energy

A Pilates class will improve breathing and circulation, creating a sense of well-being. The stimulated muscles will call on your energy reserves in response, burning more calories. Your movements will become easier, encouraging you to become more active.

All of this means that regular Pilates workouts will create a fitter, leaner, healthier you.

About Author
Charlotte Hopkinson is the founder of Live-Pilates. She is a Level 3 Advanced Pilates instructor with 10 years experience as a qualified Fitness Instructor. Live-Pilates offers mainstream Pilates classes as well as specialised Pilates classes for back problems.

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