Health Benefits of Pilates

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/25/2007 | Fitness

Although Pilates has been around since the early part of the 20th century, it is only beginning to get the attention it deserves.

Pilates is a unique set of exercises that relies on certain muscles that include your back, your abdominals (also known as your Core), your buttocks and your inner thigh muscles. Each exercise flows into the other and requires you to perform them precisely and repetitiously. By performing the exercises exactly, they will eventually help you to have a stronger; more balanced physique and will help to correct any weakness in your body.

If you have always admired the long, lean look of a dancer's body then Pilates is perfect for you.

However, beyond a well-sculpted and balanced body, Pilates has many other health benefits as well.

One of the benefits of Pilates is stress management. We live in an extremely stressful world. And we all need to learn how to deal with stress. Often, unbridled stress can lead to disease or even death and is commonly called the silent killer. Many people find that by practicing Pilates they learn how to breathe properly and to focus their minds on their form. By learning to focus the mind and engaging it with the body, this helps to release tension and stress.

Another benefit of Pilates is that it gives flexibility to your body. In our modern world, most of us lead very sedentary lifestyles. We do not get enough exercise. As a result, our muscles and joints become very stiff and our bodies begin to age quickly. Stretching, however, is one of the key components of Pilates. By engaging in Pilates on a regular basis, you will have increased flexibility and range of motion. This will help you in many aspects of your life including being able to perform all of your daily activities more easily. Having a flexible body also means better blood circulation as well. This will lead to the blood being able to reach your muscles to bring nourishment to your cells.

Body alignment is another benefit of Pilates. Most of us are more aligned or developed on one side of the body than the other. For example, the left side of our body may be stronger and more flexible than the right side of our body. By practicing Pilates on a regular basis, you can change this by helping your body to become more balanced. Pilates will help you to strengthen, tone, limber, and stretch all of your muscles and joints. This will give you a much more balanced and aligned body and physique.

Additionally, by practicing Pilates on a regular basis, your body will become more streamlined. The exercises are designed to stretch and lengthen your muscles. This will give a longer, leaner look to your body and overall posture.

Lastly, another benefit of regular participation in Pilates is more mental alertness. Performing the Pilates postures and breathing exercises will not only increase the circulation of your blood, it will also bring more oxygen to your brain, thus increasing your mental alertness.