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Benefits of Pilates Exercises

Part of the Pilates For Dummies Cheat Sheet (Australia/New Zealand Edition)

Get excited about starting your Pilates program. Some of the changes you may not notice until three months into your Pilates workouts, but be patient. No exercise program works miracles. These changes in your body become apparent only if you maintain a regular Pilates program, meaning doing the workout at least twice a week.

  • A firmer butt: Most Pilates exercises work the butt. You should notice a definite change within a few weeks of doing Pilates regularly. Your butt should be more toned and perhaps a little smaller. If you start with a very small and undeveloped butt, it actually may grow a little, but in a very nice way.

  • Longer and leaner musculature: If you tend to bulk up when you work out, Pilates is an ideal strength-training program for you. Pilates exercises accentuate the length of the limbs and change bulky muscles into longer and leaner ones. In general, Pilates exercise should lengthen your muscles and make you look taller.

  • Better posture: Better posture is something Pilates can pretty much guarantee. And other people will surely notice this change in you after only a few Pilates workouts. If you take the lessons you learn from Pilates to heart, you’ll stand and sit taller and look more elegant.

  • A flatter tummy: The best way to get a flatter tummy is to lose a little weight. The second best way is to do Pilates. If you’re already thin but have a bulge in your middle, Pilates can help you lose a notch in your belt.

    The most basic aspect of the Pilates method is pulling your navel in towards your spine or scooping your abdominals. If you apply this simple technique to your everyday life — when standing, walking and so on — your belly will be flatter and more attractive.

  • Less back pain: Most back pain results from faulty posture and a sedentary lifestyle. Pilates addresses the muscle imbalances that most typically contribute to back pain, namely weak abdominals and butt muscles. Pilates also stretches out the tight and overworked back muscles. Proper alignment is the main factor that helps to alleviate back pain. If you do Pilates carefully, you’ll understand how to use your body in ways that protect your back from injury.

  • More flexibility: Pilates exercises stretch the muscles and the joints while they strengthen the body. If you have found that your spine has lost some of its range of motion and flexibility, Pilates very quickly lessens this problem.

    Everyone has physical limitations that depend on age, genetics and lifestyle. Pilates is not a panacea, but if you do a regular Pilates exercise program, your body can reach its potential in the areas of flexibility and strength.

  • More awareness: If nothing else, doing Pilates should give you a new awareness of your body. You may never have thought about pulling in your tummy, sitting up tall or keeping your shoulder blades down away from your ears. And you may never have thought a lot about how you breathe. The things you find out in Pilates will start to filter into your daily life, and you may find that you correct your own posture and habits naturally.

  • Better balance: Any gymnast knows that to keep from falling off the balance beam, you need to pull in your belly and squeeze your butt. In order to have good balance, you need to have a strong centre, and you need to know how to find it without a lot of thought.

    Pilates exercises strengthen the core. After doing Pilates regularly, you may not be able to do a back flip on the balance beam, but you’ll definitely find increased coordination and balance.

  • Greater strength: Any exercise regimen should increase your body’s overall strength, or else what’s the point? But Pilates strengthens the muscles in your body that you may actually notice on a day-to-day basis. Pilates is meant to improve your daily life: It can help you get up from bed, if that’s hard for you, or it can help you do a triple back flip off the diving board, if that’s your goal.

    Whatever activity you do, you’ll find that Pilates exercises improve strength in meaningful ways and can help with the overall health of your spine. Doing Pilates can prevent injuries, too!

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