Movement We Love: Pilates

We move to feel strong, flexible, grounded, centred and energized…and pilates is one of those workouts that does all of that and more. Created in the 1920’s, pilates has grown in popularity all over the world and for good reason: it’s core focused, low-impact movements that relax, strengthen and stretch our bodies while protecting them against further injuries. Pilates teaches you just how connected the mind and body are and really emphasizes the importance of aligning the spine and core strength while also working the rest of your body. It’s not a mindless workout where you’re really just trying to get as many reps as possible, but instead feels like a slow controlled flow that focuses on posture, breath, precision and concentration. Here are 5 reasons why we love Pilates:

1. CORE STRENGTH - The strength of your core is a lot more important than you think, considering how much you use it daily to stand, bend over, walk, run, sit, carry things and move throughout your day. But unfortunately, the core is the weakest park of most peoples bodies, even though it’s where all of our strength originates from. Pilates focuses on constantly engaging your core, strengthening both your back and abdominal muscles which will support you in your everyday life and prevent future injuries.

2. INCREASED FLEXIBILITY - Pilates has a huge focus on the integrity of muscles as well as using their full range of motion as you move through exercises. This works to increase the flexibility and strength of your muscles, while helping your muscles to lengthen and become more pliable. Long, strong muscles will allow you to bend and stretch with ease.

3. BETTER BALANCE & POSTURE - In almost every pilates exercise, there’s some kind of balance and lengthening involved. You’re taught to align your spine, stabilize your body and use essentially every muscle within every movement, The mind-body connection is incredibly important here, because if you’re not focusing on your posture and engaging and lengthening your muscles during every exercise throughout a class, you won’t reap the benefits that properly practiced pilates offers you.  

4. PREVENTS INJURIES - Since pilates focuses so much on core strength, it supports daily life activities and helps improve performance in other workouts. The core strength it will give you will bring more awareness into your midsection which will help prevent any future injuries.

5. PAIN RELIEVING - You might think exercise is out of the question if you suffer from chronic pain, but pilates will actually help alleviate any aches and pains in your body. It’s gentle, low-impact and takes the stress of of your joints and bones, so it’s actually quite commonly recommended to those looking to aid in the treatment and management of pain. It decompresses your back, stabilizes your hips, strengthens your lower back and can help you move smoothly through your life with less pain.

Pilates is truly accessible for everyone, from your grandparents, to kids, athletes, pregnant women and anyone suffering with chronic illness or pain…and the amazing thing is you can do it anywhere. No fancy studio or reformer machine necessary. All you need is your body, a mat and you’re ready to go!

Julia Gibson is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, functional foods recipe developer, and write currently based in Toronto. She hopes to inspire and empower others by creating nourishing foods, living a sustainable life, promoting holistic healing and sharing thoughtful writing.

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