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Recently I’ve been practising Pilates – and really enjoying it. One of the main reasons I like it so much is, I have an amazing teacher, Dee . A busy working mum who seems to juggle her work/life balance with ease; Dee is inspiring, always friendly, calm and upbeat – a really beautiful person.
Dee has kindly answered a few questions and if you are interested in giving Pilates a try, I hope you will find them useful.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a very unique series of over 500 exercises, developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates. He called his method of exercise Contrology. Above all other methods, Pilates really has proved to be a very effective form of exercise. It’s popularity is forever increasing; I am always amazed that, after 11 years of teaching, I still meet new clients taking it up for the first time.
Sometimes Pilates is taught on the mat and sometimes you use equipment, why is that and what’s the difference?
The equipment provides support, control, increased resistance and works the body very effectively. The equipment uses the spring’s tension to make you control your movements and correct your alignment. Unlike gym equipment, where you can only do one movement on each machine, on each piece of Pilates apparatus you were able to complete a whole series of exercises. It’s very clever.
What results can we expect, better posture, more core strength and flexibility?
All of those, Pilates is a unique system of exercises that builds on increased strength and with that comes better movement and increased flexibility. The movement possibilities are endless.
Is Pilates used for injury rehab and can it help relieve back pain?
Yes, modern Pilates really focuses on back care and rehabilitation. Our bodies need movement to recover. Pilates is a very low impact way of re-introducing exercise which can gradually be increased as you get stronger and become pain free. Pilates caters for all levels and abilities and not just rehab. It’s a proven a hit with athletes, dancers and rugby players too. I have taught Pilates to 3 years olds, all the way up to 80 year olds. Actually, babies join in with their mums sometimes too.
How many classes should we do every week to see /feel a difference?
A minimum of 3 – 4 classes per week is recommended. The more you do, the faster your body responds. It’s important to build up your own practise and routine. Pilates isn’t a quick fix. Be warned, Pilates is known to be addictive!
What exercises can we do at home to supplement and help our practise?
It really depends on your goals; practising regularly is the key to success. I always say less is more; take a few key exercises and focus on those and you’ll really see the improvements. It can be challenging to fit in an hours workout into our busy schedule, so start with a 10 minute routine and build it up form there. The key to success is practise and developing your mind and body control.
What’s the difference between Pilates And Yoga?
There are some real similarities between Yoga and Pilates, however, as disciplines they are very different. In my opinion there are more similarities between Pilates And Gymnastics than there are in Yoga. Pilates father was an award winning gymnast. When you watch gymnastics you can clearly see the similarities and the shapes and positions they hold. Pilates classically follows a series of movements in the same way Yoga does but generally, classes are commonly more varied in style now. I would also say that one of the main differences is that, Pilates exercises continue to flow or move; in Yoga you tend to hold a posture/precision for a longer period of time. Joseph Pilates took a lot of his movement inspiration from animals and examples include exercises named The Swan, The Seal and The Elephant.
Can we expect to feel any mental benefits after a session?
Absolutely, Pilates is your happy hour. It’s your time to switch off from the outside world and allows you to focus completely and totally on you, for just 1 hour of your day. It is exceptionally important and is one of the most beneficial things about this exercise.
Anyone who thinks these exercises are just gentle stretches, think again! You really work your core , and your range of movement is really tested too, but I absolutely love it. Why not give it a go!
Or look here to find a class in your area. Enjoy!