Mat Pilates: The Key to a Stronger Core
The practice of Pilates may date back all the way to the early 1900’s, but the benefits of its practice are far from outdated.
Regularly practicing Pilates (or the art of controlled movements, as founder Joseph Pilates described it) builds core strength, increases flexibility and improves muscular endurance and balance. The exercises focus on spine alignment and core engagement while incorporating proper breathing techniques into the movements.
We have a wide variety of Pilates classes here at VIDA, from standard mat Pilates, Power Pilates with more advanced options, and Pilates Reformer classes available for small group training. Whether you’ve been practicing
Pilates for years or are just starting out, the modifications available make the class perfect for people of all fitness levels.
Beginners don’t need to worry about an intimidating class environment as mat Pilates is one of the most welcoming and easy to jump into classes out there. The moves are slow, controlled and fluid and are always demonstrated by instructors beforehand. Your instructor will walk you through the exercise and also explain exactly when to contract and engage certain muscles to get the most out of the movement.
Since you’re not tied to any heavy equipment or trying to follow complex choreography during Pilates you can totally focus on form and keeping your muscles engaged throughout the class. You’re also in complete control of how far you push yourself in a stretch, how long you hold a pose, the leverage of resistance used, etc.
VIDA Pilates instructor Lauren Fredston-Hermann explains that this ability to control the intensity of movements allows you to continue to challenge your body through Pilates no matter how long you’ve been practicing.
“The wonderful thing about Pilates is that the more familiar you are with the format and the stronger you become, the more the exercises become physically challenging. Pilates is all about setting safe goals – you can go a little deeper and work a little harder every time,” says Lauren.
Pilates is also great for those recovering from injuries or easing into a fitness plan due to its gentle, low-impact nature. You won’t be jumping, running, or putting any stress on your joints during class, so it’s a great option for those with chronic joint pain. And, even those who are already very physically active can benefit from consistent Pilates training since it builds strength and mobility in your spine and core muscles.
It’s also incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating! Even though your muscles will be feeling the burn, the movements are smooth and steady and have a calming effect on your mind and body. You’ll notice after starting to practice regularly a greater sense of body awareness – being more aware of your slouched posture at your desk, for example, or noticing when your hips are unaligned with the rest of your body.
Consistency is key for seeing results from Pilates, so add a class or two to your schedule this week! You’ll soon start feeling a much more strong and balanced core, which will only enhance your performance in other areas as well. We look forward to seeing you on the mat!