Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Why We Love pilates (And You Should, Too!)




Pilates is such a great exercise system both holistic and hands on. Its often underestimated as yet another class you can do at your local gym. But it can be so much more in terms of fitness, health, a great figure and not to mention great for dancers. Find out what Pilates can do for you and some great links to professionals near you. Find out the great things it can do for your health below.

The top 6 reasons you should include Pilates into your daily routine:


  1. Increase circulation and relieve tension - Great for when you have been behind a computer all day and your circulation is sluggish due to inactivity. 

  2. Improves posture - For those style conscious people who love to wear nice clothes. The better you look and feel about your body the more you can make out of the things you wear.

  3. Enhances body awareness - In this day and age of computers and technology, people are loosing the sense of moving in their own body. Sound strange? Building up greater body awareness can help to improve core body strength and movement. Not to mention make  dance and movement activities fun while technique is quick to integrate.

  4. Improves muscle tone - working with the core muscles of the torso as a central focus for powering the arms and legs. Giving a powerhouse for controlling the multiple movements we do in everyday life. With the right muscles toned and active it also decreases the likelihood of injuries. 

  5. Improves breathing practices and energizes - The Pilates system uses a thought out and deliberate way of breathing during exercises. Consciously used doing particular types of movement for different effects. Many people these days don't have good breathing practices. These would be to breath efficiently using the stomach and lungs each time you breath in and out. We get into habits like not breathing through the nose or short shallow breaths. Breathing slower and deeper energizes the body while being more efficient. 

  6. Great for people with mobility problems - many exercises are done on the floor, sitting in chairs and using other props for help and support. You don't need to be a dancer to try this, in fact quite the opposite applies.

     

     

     My personal experience and your, build up some knowledge about yourself


    I have mixed a number of pilates exercises into a daily routine which keeps my body toned and working effeciently. I have to admit to off times where i don't practice, but always feel the difference when i get back into the flow of regular practice. My body loves it.

    For me its important to find out what you need from a daily or even 2 times weekly workout. Manageable sessions that can be repeated are key here. Important factors can include:

    • Strength
    • Flexibility
    • Build
    • Proportions of the body.
    • Movement Activities hobbies or work.
    • Health issues or weaknesses in the body



     

    Taking the above list and using myself as an example:


    • Strength - I am very strong in my legs and strong in my core muscles. weak in my arms and neck.
    • Flexibility - I am super flexible in my lower back, less in my upper back, not naturally flexible in my legs while arms and shoulder blades are very flexible.
    • Build - I am tall, with long legs and arms, medium shoulder width and hourglass figure.
    • Proportions of the body - I have longer legs than my torso but have a balanced proportion, with a long back.
    • Movement Activities hobbies or work - I am a professional dancer for my work, i like to learn other dances and movement forms to a high level including pilates, yoga, kung fu amongst others, fashion and posture are important to me as they bring an extra quality to how i look and feel.
    • Health issues or weaknesses in the body - I am super flexible in my hips and have to watch for injuries when exercise. Health issues around digestion and dizzyness due to an operation I had on one of my ears affects me from time to time.


    Find the answers for yourself:


    How to find out where you are stronger and weaker? 


    Think back to times when you are lifting things, this should give you some good answers. Otherwise check with a health specialist like Pilates, dance, or health related teaching/practitioner. This information can help to tell you where you need to work on your strength and where you should maintain your current level.

    How to find out your areas of flexibility?


    Do some simple stretching exercises and be careful of your bodies limits. Again ask a dance teacher or other movement professional for some exercises if you are unsure which ones to use. This information can help to tell you where you need to work on your flexibility and where you should maintain your current level.


     What type of build and body proportions do i have?


    Body build is often a bit difficult to know offhand. Ask some people around you what they think and find people in the street who match how you see your self and then ask where you would but their build on the scale of things. There is a lot of great information on the web about build and proportions so maybe give google a try. Otherwise get in touch with our contact form, i am happy to help. For proportions get a long mirror and ask yourself 2 questions: 1. Is my body longer than my legs or vice versa, 2. what are the general lengths of my arms, legs, torso in relation to the size of my head.

    This information can help to tell you where you about your body, how to work with posture and also how the length of the body often shows the things you can work on. Longer limbs usually need core body exercises and movement control/awareness while being naturally graceful. Shorter limbs often get more tension and need to work with relaxation. These are gross generalisations. Its difficult to describe the complexities of proportions and body build here and its always best to get expert advice in person.

    If you find some funny things out, please don't worry. When we really look at ourselfs we reallize we are a bit strange looking and beautiful. Keep in mind everyone who does  this will probably feel the same. You are unique and beautiful, don't forget it.


    Why are my health weakness's, work and hobby activities important?


    These allow you to keep in mind important factors that you should keep in mind while exercising. Any health problems of weaknesses you might have should be taken into account when trying Pilates or any other activity alone. Notify your teacher if doing a class. In places where you body is weaker do less repetitions and lower level intensity exercises to build up the strength in that area. Too much can lead to injuries, take care of yourself.

    The movement things we do for work and hobbies are useful bits of information. It tells us how fit we are, whether our body is used to moving or not and the types of movement it knows in its body memory already. A more movement active person can often learn things faster and take more intensity while those less used to moving need a little more time to build up on knowledge and intensity.

    Couple your growing knowledge with a great exercise system like Pilates and you are made for life. If Pilates doesn't workout then try one of the other great ways to exercise and experiment until you find one that is right for you.

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