Can Anyone Do Pilates?

Can Anyone Do Pilates? - Depositphotos 29507333 l 2015

Can anyone do pilates?

Have you heard about Pilates? Is it safe? Can anyone do Pilates? 

Are you curious to know more about it and whether it’s the right kind of exercise for you?

This blog provides a brief overview of the physical therapists’ favorite type of exercise, Pilates, and its unrivaled health benefits. So, if you’re interested in trying this unique form of exercise, we answer all your questions.

“Pilates develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.” – Joseph Pilates.

What’s not to love, right?

We agree with Joseph. 

Pilates is a great all-around exercise for mind, body, and spirit. But we especially love it for the physical benefits it offers our patients recovering from injury. Or the patients we’re working with to strengthen their cores and reduce lower back pain.

But What Is Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise that focuses on body strengthening through the build-up of core strength and helps improve well-being, flexibility, joint mobility, and overall fitness. It is like yoga in its emphasis on flexibility, balance, and posture. But one of the many advantages of Pilates over other more rigorous forms of exercises, including vinyasa and ashtanga forms of yoga, is that Pilates focuses on proper form and avoiding injury.

Like yoga, Pilates gives the mind-body connection immense importance too. But instead of focusing on the spiritual and emotional aspect of that connection. Pilates works on the more practical premise that a healthy, well-functioning body requires a strong connection to the brain and the nervous system.

Pilates was initially created in Germany – by gymnast and carpenter Joseph Pilates. He introduced Pilates as an exercise form for injured soldiers and dancers. He believed that an individual’s physical and mental well-being were interconnected. Later, in the 1920s, he moved to the US, where he set up the first Pilates in New York.

In the early stages, Pilates exercise was called “Contrology” – as they center around controlling the body’s movement.

Who Is Pilates For? Can Anyone Do Pilates?

Who Is Pilates For?

Pilates is a suitable form of exercise for most people – primarily if a Physical Therapist teaches it because they can modify the exercises to match your physical capabilities. They can also change Pilates routines to create a more strenuous, strength-training workout for exercise aficionados. Or take them down a notch to create a more moderate, gentler routine for beginners and those recovering from injury or surgery. 

If you’re just starting to exercise after a long break, it’s best to take it slow and learn the basic moves, breathing, and proper “placement” and “stabilization” first.

After becoming skilled in these types of practices and you’ve fully healed after illness, injury or surgery, you can move on to more advanced and challenging Pilates routines. In the initial stages, we recommend a professional instructor or one-to-one sessions with a trained physical therapist who can teach you the fundamentals of Pilates.

Like stabilizing your core muscles before attempting any of the exercises. This one-to-one instruction will help you reduce the risk of future injuries and help you get the most out of Pilates classes.

But if you have any current health conditions or are pregnant, we recommend talking to your physician before commencing any new exercise routine. For instance, if you have any of the following medical conditions, Pilates may not be suitable for you:

  • Blood clotting problems
  • Hypertension
  • Advanced osteoporosis
  • A herniated disk or other spinal problems

What Are The Health Benefits of Pilates?

Can Anyone Do Pilates?

If you’re considering taking up Pilates, you probably want to know about the associated health benefits, right? Well, since this exercise form emphasizes flexibility, posture, and strength, some of the benefits you can expect, include:

Improved posture: Pilates helps those practicing to maintain a better posture. Since the exercises need the body to be in proper alignment, which you learn as you progress, Pilates helps correct the posture and primarily benefits those with lower back pain.

Flatten the stomach: Since Pilates strengthens the “core” that includes the abdomen, you will find that Pilates helps tone the abdominal muscles, which can help flatten the stomach.

Better balance: Since the focus in Pilates is primarily upon the connection of the mind and “controlling” the body. It increases your awareness about how your body performs and how you move.  So, apart from an improved posture leading to better balance, it also helps to strengthen the mind-body connection.

Improves flexibility: As we advance in age, our flexibility diminishes over time. Doing Pilates is an excellent way to improve your flexibility over time. After some months doing Pilates – either with a physical therapist, trained instructor, or in classes, you will be astonished by how much your flexibility and mobility improve. Having good flexibility is integral to prevent injuries from falls.

Tones the muscles: Pilates exercises long-forgotten muscles that aren’t used much in your daily life. While there will be soreness initially when your body rediscovers these muscles, it later helps tone the muscles more effectively. This muscle-toning effect is especially beneficial if you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle. In addition, muscle tone is usually reduced with inactivity and advancing age – so strengthening these muscles again is “anti-aging.”

Stress reduction: While doing Pilates exercises, you are focused on the movements and breathing and are automatically distracted from the stress and worries of daily life. So, by concentrating on breathing and lessened.

Develop an overall sense of well-being: Since the emphasis in Pilates is on mind-body balance, it contributes significantly to a sense of overall well-being. It also gets the natural endorphins and feel-good chemicals flowing inside your brain.

Pilates And Weight Loss

Pilates and weight loss

Although it benefits physical function and mobility, Pilates also burns calories and aids in toning and trimming excess fat from certain parts of the body like the buttocks, legs, and stomach. If you are keen to lose weight, your trainer can create a customized workout plan to include routines that help weight loss.

As with all exercise routines, though: you can’t out-train a bad diet. So you will also need to make some modifications to your diet to achieve substantial weight loss.

It helps, of course. But Pilates isn’t a hugely aerobic exercise. So if you’re primarily interested in losing weight, you’ll need to step up the burn and combine it with other calorie-burning activities like cycling, swimming, or brisk walking.

Can Anyone Do Pilates?: Frequently Asked Questions

Pilates And Physical Therapy

Which parts of the body does Pilates help?

Pilates focuses on working the core section of the body that comprises the abdominal muscles and other surrounding and supporting muscles. This focus is why Pilates is great for lower back complaints – because a strong core supports the spine. Some of the other major body parts toned and strengthened through Pilates include the buttocks, the upper thigh region, and the legs. 

It has also proved to be beneficial for Arthritis because it helps keep the joints of the body flexible. In addition, since it benefits and strengthens the muscles in the thigh area, it helps prevent falls, injuries, and arthritis-related degeneration.

Do I need specialized equipment to do Pilates?

In the early stages of starting Pilates, a floor mat is just about the only requirement. Most beginner exercises use a floor mat. When you are ready to move to a more advanced level of Pilates, you may like to find a physical therapy practice that offers “Pilates Reformer” classes under the supervision of an instructor.

Most gyms and Pilates studios that offer advanced Pilates classes use equipment like the Cadillac, the Reformer, and specialized chairs and other equipment. But you don’t need to worry about any of those things until you’ve conquered the basics of breathing, core stability, and proper positional placement.

What should I wear?

You don’t need to wear anything special to Pilates – just something you’re comfortable in and can move around in. Your regular workout gear is fine.

How often should I do Pilates?

How often you do Pilates is entirely up to you. Still, your current physical fitness also governs it and whether you’re recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery. Some people do Pilates every day. Others do it once or twice a week. If you need advice, talk to a Physical Therapist or your Pilates instructor.

Can I do Pilates while pregnant?

Pilates is a great way to stay active and mobile during pregnancy. It can also help prepare your body for childbirth and labor – and prevent complications. But you should always check with your OBGYN before starting any new exercise routine.

Am I too old to do Pilates?

Well, we believe you’re never too old to do anything, and this is especially true of Pilates. It’s a great exercise to do long into retirement and beyond because it keeps your spine, joints, and muscles strong and supple and can prevent age-related degeneration. But start now – don’t put it off. Prevention is better than cure, and as Joseph Pilates, himself said, “A man is as young as his spinal column.”

Physical Therapy at Intecore Physical Therapy

If you would like to talk to a Physical therapist about whether Pilates is suitable for your specific situation, please book a free telephone consultation here.

Andrew Vertson
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