I had heard a lot about Pilates, mainly from glossy magazines featuring the latest A- lister with gazelle like legs and super toned arms. However, it definitely has more benefits than purely cosmetic. Having done my research and started a class at Torquay’s Aztec Studio, here are my top 6 reasons why you should do Pilates.
Say goodbye to back pain
This was one of my main reasons for taking up Pilates – a niggling lower back problem which would flare up now and again. Pilates was initially developed by a German gymnast, Joseph Pilates, born in 1833. He believed that poor posture caused many of the aches and pains he had experienced, so he set about devising a series of movements to help strengthen the deep core muscles which support our entire bodies. Hey presto, his patients’ back problems improved. Of course it’s not quite ‘hey presto’ – you do have to work at it, but my back pain is pretty much a thing of the past.
It’s a stress buster
An hour of Pilates is equivalent to a large glass of wine or two in my book when it comes to feeling relaxed – and obviously much better for you. During a class you focus on small muscle movements and breathing so your brain finds it really hard to wander off. The release of muscle tension during a class is wonderful and the effect lasts for hours. There’s no better way of switching off after a hectic day – no, not even a glass of wine…
A -list arms, abs and legs
Celebrities love Pilates. It’s so effective at achieving that A-lister holy grail of long, lean limbs. OK we may not all be blessed with Gwyneth Paltrow’s genes, but we can aspire to being the best we can be, confident enough to step into summer baring our thighs and upper arms with pride! To get that effect though does take hard work and Pilates is not for slouches. I have been amazed at my aching muscles the day after a class. As with everything in life, you get out what you put in.
Stand up tall
Good posture is key when it comes to protecting your back and warding off other aches and pains. With so many of us hunched forward over keyboards, phones and tablets for most of the day, it’s no wonder we suffer from neck and back problems. Pilates teaches you good posture. How to stand and sit and how to engage those all important core muscles. Pull your stomach in now and see how slimmer you instantly look. Forget dieting, good posture can take pounds off.
It’s safe in pregnancy
The beauty of Pilates is that although it is very effective it is also very safe and therefore ideal during pregnancy. A good Pilates teacher will show you how to adjust the exercises at different stages throughout pregnancy. Studies have shown that regular gentle exercise focusing on the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles can lead to shorter, easier labours and fewer problems afterwards. Plus that strong core will help when it comes to carrying around all that baby gear afterwards!
Perhaps most importantly, Pilates is fun to do. You’ll never stick to an exercise programme unless you enjoy it and with the right teacher you will get the motivation and results you’re looking for. Pilates can be tailored to suit all ages and all abilities – you develop at your own pace based on what is right for you.
I tried the new class at the Aztec Studio in Torquay with Clover Sterling. Clover is a qualified osteopath as well as Pilates and fitness instructor so she really knows her stuff. She also makes her classes great fun. You can find out more here or take a look at the Aztec Studio fitness timetable to see what else is on offer. To book a class call 01803 400300.
I've worked at TLH for longer than I care to dwell on but have seen so many changes it's been like working for 3 or 4 different companies! I am now in Marketing and am involved in spreading the word about how great TLH is!