Can Pilates Make You Fit?

The benefits of pilates is from the highly unusual method of stretching and toning exercises. Pilates improves blood circulation and flexibility. But, can Pilates make you fit? There has been much debate over whether or not Pilates can improve the overall cardiovascular and general fitness level of the participant. Some people tend to think that Pilates alone will not greatly increase a person's fitness level, although he or she will benefit from the reduce in stress and increase in flexibility that Pilates will provide. However, devotees to Pilates report a definite increase in strength along will the other benefits.

Unlike traditional weight training, Pilates uses breath control, balance and body resistance to increase muscle mass. If you want to pump up your work out routine without adding a weight segment to it, Pilates can help you build lean muscle mass by using the body as its own resistance. You won't build the incredible muscle mass associated with body building and lifting free weights, but the body can provide enough resistance to itself to strengthen the muscles to a great degree. Some of the balancing poses and stretches used in Pilates require a great deal of strength to hold. That natural resistance builds lean, elongated muscle. While aerobic activity is great for the heart and weight lifting strengthens the muscle, Pilates can benefit the body in its own ways.

In addition to the benefits of strengthening muscles that Pilates provide, the method uses controlled breathing techniques and proper spinal alignment. The breathing techniques focus on the individual breathing through a series of ever-increasingly difficult poses. The control, concentration and strength needed to accomplish the exercises give the practitioner a sense of peace after he is finished. The exercises also promote proper spinal alignment, which has untold benefits, everything from sleeping better to fewer colds and headaches.

Even if you choose doing Pilates as a supplement to your regular exercise program, or as your main strength-training exercise, Pilates can help your muscles to grow strong, balanced and supple. In fact, Pilates requires you to hold certain positions for a period of time during the space of several deep breaths. This feat in actually much more difficult than conventional exercise, where the movements can allow momentum to help carry your muscles through till the end. Holding the poses in Pilates actually allows the muscles to realign, becoming more balanced. Also, instead of isolating a particular muscle or set of muscles, Pilates recruits smaller muscle groups around the large set targeted to help with balance. Since you're not overworking the larger muscle groups in isolation, you are less likely to be hurt during your exercise program.

Pilates has multiple benefits. It is considered an exercise program for the mind and body. The Pilates positions and controlled breathing focus the mind inward instead of focusing on the distractions of everyday life. Using Pilates as a mental exercise with benefits of strengthening the back and muscles, the practitioners can achieve a better mental state and better overall fitness.

Get Started With Pilates

The Pilates method has become increasingly popular these days. Maybe you're thinking of trying to incorporate Pilates into your personal exercise routine. Pilates has been widely touted today as a way to strengthen the muscles and increase flexibility. Millions have been using Pilates as a way to accomplish these goals. If you have been wanting to explore Pilates as an option, read on to find out exactly what you are getting yourself into.

Pilates was founded around 70 years ago as a series of 500 movements designed to build up the core muscle groups of the abdominal's, shoulders, back, and pelvis, while improving flexibility in the practitioner at the same time. The Pilates method usually produces longer, leaner muscles rather that the shorter, bulky muscles that traditional weight training produces. Pilates also use the method of holding certain positions for a number of breaths rather than the repetitions of other exercise methods. Because you are holding poses, you are required to balance, which also brings smaller muscle groups into play, making the workout very effective in overall toning.

So, you are interested. How do you get started? One likely place to look for help might be the public library, which could contain books or DVDs on Pilates. You need to see for yourself what Pilates looks like when its being practiced. You can learn a lot about the technique by seeing it in a DVD, book, or visiting a Pilates class. If you think that this method might appeal to you, then you are ready to move to the next step, which would be to visit your doctor for a checkup to see if you are physically fit enough to add Pilates into your exercise routine.

If your doctor agrees that you can add Pilates to your exercise routine, then join a beginning class and begin to build a relationship with a qualified Pilates instructor. This person will tailor a Pilates program especially for you, only adding exercises when you need them, with your particular exercise needs in mind. If you enjoy the beginning classes, you might want to visit an advanced class, with the ultimate goal being to eventually work your way to the class.

But, what if your schedule does not allow for outside classes? The beauty of the Pilates method is that, once learned, most of the exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home and in a matter of minutes a day. People nowadays need an exercise program that is flexible enough to move into a tight schedule and Pilates can fit into the tightest schedule, whenever the practitioner choose to do it.

Eventually, if you become adept at the floor Pilates exercises, you may want to add exercises to your routine using some of the available Pilates equipment, such as a Pilates exercise ball, mat, circles, and resistance bands or others. But for right now, learning to perfect the floor Pilates exercises is enough of a challenge. Later on, if you become a Pilates enthusiast, you can research the most strenuous Pilates workout, which is called Windsor Pilates, which will burn the most calories and cause the most weight loss. This method, however, uses more complicated machinery, so its best to save it for later.

Whatever type of Pilates you choose to put into your exercise routine, the most important thing is to get started. if you follow the principals of the Pilates method, you should be on the road to getting and staying fit for life.

Pilates for Stretching and Toning the Muscles

Founded by Joseph Pilates, the Pilates Exercise Method is one of the most popular fitness trends today. Pilates is an exercise method that combines different body movements that will strengthen, stretch, and control the muscles and body. Pilates uses breathing, concentration, and core exercises to accomplish these goals.

The Pilates Method of Exercise seeks to improve the over-all health and well-being of its participants. The mind works in conjunction with the muscles to strengthen the back and abdomen, or core muscles and increase flexibility there. Another benefit of Pilates is increases lung capacity, because exercises incorporate deep breathing while exercising.

For many years, the Pilates Method has been gathering the momentum of increases popularity. The rich and famous seem to be drawn to the Pilates Method, with Marissa Tomei, Jennifer Aniston, and Julia Roberts, among others who are practicing and loving the Pilates Method. So, why are so many people turning to Pilates to get fit? If there are so many famous people and others using it, Pilates must have some great benefits.

There are a couple of different ways to exercise using the Pilates Method. One way to use Pilates involves primarily the floor exercises, which are less expensive and more convenient than conventional classes. The only equipment needed to practice the floor exercises is a floor mat and a trainer or video. If you can't afford a personal trainer, then you need to go with the video option. There are many reliable video programs available now with certified Pilates instructors doing the teaching. Be cautious when working without a trainer because the Pilates exercises could cause injury if done improperly.

The other way to exercise using the Pilates Method of Exercise is to join a gym that has Pilates machines and equipment and regular Pilates classes and certified Pilates instructors on staff. These types of gyms usually involve some sort of membership with monthly or yearly fees.

Whichever way you choose to exercise using the Pilates Method, you need to be comfortable, so wear light clothes, such as tights and a tank top. You should stay focused when the instructor teaches you how to breath and move properly. There is no way to accomplish your goals if you do not stay focused and disciplined enough to do the exercises the right way.

Any participant should begin a Pilates program with the simplest of Pilates routines, working his way up to more advanced and complex routines. Using this method, you will be less likely to suffer an injury while exercising.

The Pilates Method of Exercise focus mainly on increasing strength and flexibility, so two 50 minute sessions of Pilates only burn about 250 calories. Therefore, you need to combine Pilates with some sort of cardiovascular exercises, like fast walking or swimming, that will burn more calories for optimum health.

You shouldn't join the Pilates Method of Exercise just because it's the popular thing to do. If you participate for those reasons, you will fail to achieve any long-term fitness goals with Pilates. However, if you stick with the program and stay focused, Pilates will help you by conditioning your muscles and mind. You will soon began to see subtle changes in your muscle tone and flexibility, which will make your daily tasks easier, your body stronger, and your mind calmer. The Pilates Method of Exercise is a great workout with many benefits for anyone.

The Five Basic Pilates Exercises

Even if you have never used the Pilates Method of Exercises before, your can quickly begin to pick up the movements and to benefit from these exercises by strengthening your muscles and improving your flexibility. These five Pilates exercises can be done just about anywhere and anytime.

Pilates Exercise 1 - Breathing:

Controlling your breathing is a major component to the Pilates Method. You simply breath through your nose for a count of 5 and then breath out of your mouth for a count of 5, making the sound,"shhhh," with your mouth as you exhale. You should never rush your breathing, but stay relaxed. If you use the Pilates breathing correctly, you will get more oxygen to your muscles, which will improve the benefits of all the exercises. The breathing exercises will also calm you, lessening the stress you feel from everyday life.

Pilates Exercise 2 - Toe Lifts:

These exercises will help to balance and strengthen your core. This exercise will also strengthen the muscles on the top of the foot and increase the blood flow to your feet.

You need to start by standing with your feet together. Hold your head straight with your arms by your side. Start by raising your right toes slowly up as far as they will go and then put them back again. Do this a couple of time, using both feet. Then, lift up both feet at the same time, while pressing the back of your feet into the floor at the same time. If you close your eyes through several repetitions, you will begin to notice an improvement in your balance.

Pilates Exercise 3 - Finger Flicks:

This exercise will improve the circulation in your arms and fingers, which will help with stiffness in joints.

You start by standing with your feet together. Hold your hands down by your sides with loose fists. Then, roll your fingers up with your hands in front. Your arms should stay fully extended while the hands and fingers move in a circular movement, up and down in six basic positions. You will strongly flick your fingers while performing the positions. First with hands inward, down and in front; next, raised to shoulders and in front; next, stretched straight up; next, stretched out to the sides and hands facing up; next, lowered to 45 degrees with hands facing down; next, lowered to sides, with hands facing inward.

Pilates Exercise 4 - The Hundred:

This classic Pilates exercise because it will take a count of 100 to complete the series, which strengthens the core abdominal's and will expand the rib cage.

First, start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and your arms by your sides with palms down. Next, using your abdominal's, raise your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor. Then, stretch your arms forward, moving them up and down. Stay in this position for a count of 20. Then, slowly lift your legs to about 90 degrees, continuing to pump your arms up and down for 20 counts. Next, extend your legs to the ceiling, while pumping your arms for a count of 20. You will then begin to lower your legs to a 45 degree angle and continue to pump your arms for another 20. The last 20 counts will have your legs lowered to as low as possible without touching the floor.

Pilates Exercise 5 - Roll-Up to Diamond:

This floor exercise will work the abdominal's while improving the flexibility of the spine.

Begin by lying on the floor with your legs in the position of a diamond. Keep your back flat on the floor and rest your arms above your head. Then, you lift your arms upward and begin to lift your upper body off the floor with your head down. Keeping your toes pointed, stretch your arms and torso creating a C shape with your body. Your arms should be around your ears and your abdominal's should be tight. You should then begin to roll back down, finishing in the starting position. All positions in this exercise should be performed in a slow and controlled way, with your spine straight and your abdominal's tightened.

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