Pilates: The Best Workout for Muscle Recovery
Are you focusing on your health and well-being? Filling up your evenings with gym sessions, workouts and healthy meals? Pilates may be something you can add to your work out plan that will help strengthen your core muscles and make your more intense workouts a little easier and yield more results. We here at REIZE are very health conscious and a healthy body and mind are at the top of our goals list!
Pilates, often likened to yoga, has some huge benefits that even the best adrenaline junkies could take advantage of. There are two main forms of Pilates: mat-based and Reformer style, a more extreme version that includes straps, springs and platforms. Most people think that the latter is the only version of Pilates and are daunted by the idea of getting tangled up in with strangers. In reality, most gyms provide mat-based classes and the main benefits are just as achievable through mat-based classes.
What is Pilates?
The younger hipper version of yoga. Pilates is a form of exercise that aims to develop flexibility, good posture, strength, and balance. This is done through exercising and training several muscle groups at once in smooth, continuous movements. This encourages your body, by developing proper technique, to move in safer movements. For this reason, Pilates is often used for injury recovery, sports performance, and rehabilitation. In Pilates there is an emphasis on quality of movement over quantity of reps. A big focus of Pilates is emphasizing proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth, flowing movement, to become more attune to your body and its movements.
When & Where Does Pilates Come From?
Joseph Pilates developed a recovery routine in the 20th century to help injured soldiers recover from injuries sustained during WWI. IT caught on and travelled throughout Europe and America and is now one of the more popular work outs to help strengthen core muscle groups and posture.
Can You Do It At Home?
Absolutely! Like yoga, you can replicate classes at home using online resources like YouTube or exercise sites. However, if you are starting out, I would recommend attending a class to ensure you have the right form. If you are going to commit to working out at home, all you need is free space, a mat or towel, and clothes that you don’t mind destroying with sweat that you can move freely in. You can up-the-ante by introducing small weights (or improvising with soup cans or water bottles), but that is not necessary to get a good workout.
Do I Really Need The Straps and Pulleys?
You really don’t. Mat-based Pilates is a gentle, low-impact, yet serious strength workout that can help ease lower back pain, reduce body fat, improve flexibility, and even support mental well-being. In fact, mat Pilates can be even more effective than using a reformer since you’re using your own bodyweight to strengthen your muscles and stabilize your joints.
How is it Different from Yoga?
I tend to see Pilates as a sportier version of Yoga. There are no flickering candles, meditation, and calming voice of yogis instructing your flowing moves. Yoga is an ancient technique intended to unite body and mind through stretching, strength moves, breathing, and meditation. While there are some overlaps between yoga and Pilates, Pilates has been shown to improve upper body and core muscle endurance and flexibility, while yoga can improve mental and emotional health by calming the sympathetic nervous system (which controls stress levels). But there may be no need to choose between the two. Yoga’s the go-to choice for stress relief and a mind-body workout— though it could be good for physical fitness, too— while Pilates is typically better for strictly strengthening muscle.
It Evens Out Workouts!
More conventional or traditional workouts, like weightlifting, tend to build short, bulky muscles, which are prone to injury. Additionally, a lot of workouts tend to focus on the same muscles. This leads weak muscles to get weaker and strong muscles getting stronger. The result is muscular imbalance - a primary cause of injury and chronic back pain. Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. This leads to less likelihood of injury.
I don’t know about you, but I am sold! Might see you at the next Pilates class! We can share a REIZE beforehand! To ensure we are awake and aware for each new movement.
Written by Orlaith Costello