What You Need to Know About a Pilates Workout

blog-pilatesMost every gym-goer asks him or herself at some point, “Should I be doing Pilates?” Maybe you try a class and get interested or feel ambivalent, but you’re still left wondering, “What benefit will this have?”

On a very general level, Pilates is a full-body workout of compound muscle movements that strengthen your core – and not just your abs, but your back muscles, too. It looks simple on the surface and very similar to yoga, but what you’ll notice is, much of it is about control – your breathing and the types of movements you make.

So, what should you keep in mind?

It’s Not Aerobic

After a Pilates class, especially as a first-timer, there’s a good chance you felt sore – but weren’t sweaty at all. What gives? How meaningful of a workout was it?

Pilates is about building long, lean muscles across the body, and doesn’t include a cardiovascular component. You likely won’t burn a ton of calories with this medium-intensity workout, but instead, with time, you’ll discover your muscle strength, tone, and flexibility have gotten better.

However, if you’re looking to burn a certain number of calories per week, make sure to include a cardiovascular activity in your fitness regimen.

Your Core

As it’s a core-strengthening workout, Pilates involves your abdominal muscles, your upper legs, glutes, and your back muscles. In the process, you use your body essentially as a weight.

Because of this focus, this workout is said to benefit those with arthritis and lower back pain. While the change won’t be apparent after one class, you’ll find over time that your core muscles are stronger, your symptoms decrease, your balance improves, and your joints have greater flexibility.

Even if you’re not living with these conditions, going to classes at least twice per week improves posture over time, as the exercises emphasize spinal and pelvic alignment.

Your Workout

In most fitness classes, the instructor tries to get you to do a certain number of repetitions. As such, some participants go fast and sloppy, while others clearly have poor form.

A Pilates class, by contrast, stresses the quality of the movement. Like doing yoga, you might be asked to hold a certain pose or go at your own pace.

Interested in taking a Pilates class? North Haven Health & Racquet includes it in our group fitness schedule. Check the time, and see if you can come by our location!