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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.

How Pilates Can Improve Your Fitness

Pilates was created in the early 1900’s by Joseph Pilates to aid dancers and athletes in the recovery from physical injuries. Pilates isn’t an aerobic exercise but is instead aimed at strengthening the body and muscles. There are many benefits of this exercise such as improving posture and balance, whilst also focusing the mind. Pilates has enjoyed a renewed popularity in the last twenty years and is suitable for any age and fitness level as long as you receive professional tuition.

Finding an instructor who teaches all levels of experience from beginners to advanced levels is ideal so that you can be part of a group at a similar level. There are many classes being taught around the country and in Lancashire in particular, there are several weekly classes that teach the benefits of Pilates. For example, there are several groups taking part in Pilates classes in Preston, Blackburn and Chorley varying from ‘mens only’ classes to pre and post natal classes. The Pilates class you choose should be run by experienced instructors and will provide many benefits for your body and mind.

Pilates is a particularly safe form of exercise for pregnant women as the movements don’t involve high impact moves and consists of carefully controlled movements. This is easier on the muscles and joints which are particularly vulnerable to injury whilst pregnant. Fully qualified Pilates instructors can help you to understand the changes your body will go through in the nine months of your pregnancy, helping you to feel good about yourself at this time and keep your body healthy.

Sports people and athletes benefit greatly from Pilates as it can help to prevent injury and improves balance and co-ordination, which is beneficial for us all, as well as sports people. The improved strength and flexibility to be gained makes Pilates an attractive pastime.

Most people know the importance of keeping fit but find all sorts of different excuses not to join a fitness class. By joining Pilates classes you will be improving your physical stamina and fitness levels without putting unnecessary strain on your joints and muscles, meaning anyone of any age can take part in Pilates. You may even want to encourage a friend or loved one to make the first move to attend a Pilates lesson. By going along with them to a class you will be helping them to take the first step on the road to a better sense of well being and posture.

There are many benefits of Pilates which anyone can benefit from, whether you are male or female, young or old with any activity level. Pilates teaches the importance of controlling your breathing to focus your mind and tighten your stomach muscles. The exercises performed in a Pilates class are done slowly with a fluid movement to avoid any injury which is a benefit for all age groups. Pilates can be enjoyed by everyone and joining a Pilates class will offer lifelong benefits for your health and fitness.

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.

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