1) Greater Core Strength – it is widely publicised how Pilates strengthens the core. The Core runs all the way from the neck downward to the top of the legs, it is not just the abdominal region. Provided you are doing the moves correctly, you will gain a strong core.
2) Reduction of injury – due to the above (1) having a strong core will naturally give you a better control of the stabilising muscles, ensuring that they are more resistant to sharp movements and therefore less likely to be damaged.
3) Better Balance – one of my favourites (if you have ever been to one of my classes you know I always put balance elements in!). This will help all the way through life, to help avoid falls, trips, accidents etc… it really is one of the best things you can train for and will keep you healthier for longer so you can stay active throughout your lifetime.
4) Greater Proprioception – this just means your body awareness, where you put your arms/legs in space. Being more accurate with your movements, eliminates clumsiness and again assists in reducing injuries.
5) Mind/Body connection – you will improve how you perceive your body, using your mind to isolate muscles, feel what is moving and how it is affected by other muscles or exercises. It gives you greater knowledge of what your body is supposed to feel like, so you can be hyper aware of any issues early on so you can address them before they become a major issue.
6) Deeper Breathing – you will learn how to breathe laterally (ie into the sides of the ribs) which will help keep your intercostal muscles healthy and also enable you to take on board enough oxygen whilst doing your exercises. Breathing this way also ensures you do not lose your Pelvic Floor or TVA (Transverse Abdominis) connection. It also assists in better concentration of the moves.
7) Pelvic Floor strengthening – this is vital for men and women alike to keep the internal core pressure high for a stable spine. More for women it helps in later life, either after pregnancy where it may have been weakened or just generally as they get older. It helps keep everything working as it should.
8) Flexibility improvements – flexibility will naturally improve as you will be working all the major joints of the body, working fluidly throughout various ranges of motions and planes. You will also usually have a good stretching session at the end of Pilates which will have some stretches aimed at increasing your flexibility.
9) Strength – you will find the more you do Pilates, the stronger you will get. The moves get tougher, as you progress through from beginner, intermediate and advanced. Just be sure you master the basics before proceeding and ensure you use the fundamentals of breathing correctly, pelvic floor and TVA connections during the more difficult moves.
10) Posture Correction – Pilates can be great to correct postural imbalances. As you become more aware of your body and its strengths and weaknesses you will be able to pin point where you need to add extra work/effort. Over time, provided you are corrected or self-correcting you can realign some (not all) postural issues.
So if you haven’t tried Pilates before, give it a try. It really is beneficial for everyone.