The Benefits of Pilates for a Your Mind-Body Connection
Something tells us you are on the hunt for a pilates workout nearby
We’ve got you covered! But first, let’s go over the basics.
The 1980s was a spunky, colorful, and cardio-crazed decade for exercise enthusiasts. This quirky period in time was marked by several notable fitness fads that have since lost popularity or have entirely disappeared. That might have to do with the fact that the vast majority of these fads weren’t nearly effective enough to make up for the fashion faux pas that came with them (unitards, anyone?).
When finally the inevitable burnout took hold towards the end of the decade, several slightly more relaxed workouts hit the mainstream, including spinning and pilates. Pilates had actually been around since the sixties when Joseph Pilates introduced what was then called “Contrology” to ballerinas in New York City.
Joseph Pilates had a difficult childhood, plagued with rickets and asthma. To overcome his ailments, he became a student of yoga, martial arts, and zen meditation- all of which would come to play a part in pilates (the method). On the rebound from the eighties aerobics mania, people were drawn to pilates because it was less aggressive yet every bit as transformative in its own way.
What kind of workout is Pilates, exactly?
Walking into a pilates studio can be intimidating, given all the fancy-looking machinery involved. But it’s not as complex as it looks, and anyone of any body type can benefit from pilates immensely. In fact, it’s in part thanks to the machinery that makes pilates such a flexible option for people no matter where they are on their fitness journey. In essence, your workout is perfectly adjustable, and there’s no getting yelled at by Gene Simmons to step it up if you want to “party off the pounds.”
Pilates is a low-impact workout that focuses on improving strength, flexibility, and posture, and balance all in one. It can easily be adapted to amp up the challenge and is used for both rehabilitation purposes and as a challenging workout for professional athletes. Like Yoga, there are a limited number of exercises utilized- around 50 different exercises, to be precise. Each focuses on a different muscle group to improve strength, endurance, posture, and balance.
As for those intimidating machines? That machine is known as the Reformer, and it’s essentially a sliding platform within a box-like frame that provides resistance to movement using a simple pulley system. For the most part, the Reformer isn’t necessary, though it can amplify the challenge and increase strength-building. Still, most Pilates exercises can be done on a mat or from the comfort of your home, and the exercises can always be modified to increase (or decrease) resistance, with or without a Reformer.
How is Pilates different from Yoga?
The spiritual component emphasized in some Yoga classes can be a turnoff for some people who simply wish to work out. While pilates and Yoga have their similarities, meditation isn’t one of them. Both foster a mind-body connection, but pilates tends to be much less “woo woo” and much more kinesthetic. In other words, it will teach you to become more aware of how your mind connects with your surroundings using your body as a vehicle. That connection is purely driven by concentration and control, though, not meditation.
Other key differences to note include:
- Whereas Yoga utilizes some aggressive breathing techniques that often have a spiritual emphasis, pilates uses breathing techniques for a more simple purpose of maintaining a consistent flow of oxygen to keep muscles relaxed.
- Don’t get us wrong, Yoga is a fantastic workout, and you can achieve great results with consistent practice. But you’re more likely to see those results faster by practicing pilates consistently as the exercises are more intense and employ more resistance.
- Contrary to popular belief, Yoga isn’t as easy on the body as it’s commonly made out to be. Without solid form, you can easily stretch yourself a little too far and injure your tendons or make pre-existing injuries worse.
- If you’re hoping to improve your overall flexibility or the flexibility of particular joints, Yoga is ideal. But if you’re more interested in building strength, look to Pilates.
Is Pilates Good for Weight loss?
A consistent Pilates practice can help you tone your body, build lean muscle mass, and improve your posture, thereby lengthening your figure. Pilates certainly has a lot going for it, but it’s not exactly cardio-heavy. So while it is a great workout to help you stave off excess weight, you will probably have more success dropping pounds by swimming, cycling, running, boxing, or another aerobic activity. For some people, that’s a plus! But do keep in mind that 20-40 minutes of cardio each day is the optimal amount to lose weight safely.
Three Places to Try Pilates in Williamson County
- First up, Truecore in Georgetown offers reformer pilates, so it’s a great place to try those reformer machines if you’ve never had the chance or wish to up the resistance level of your workout.
- Located in Cedar Park is a special studio called Pilates Island. Instructors at this studio bring over 15 years of knowledge and experience teaching pilates around the world. Besides offering reformer pilates, they also have a number of other equipment options available to vary your routine, including TRX.
- Last but certainly not least, we also recommend Pilates 512 in Round Rock. Here, you can benefit from either group classes or one-on-one instruction in a studio that is clean and beautiful. With smaller class sizes, you are guaranteed to receive individual attention as well.
How lucky we are here in WilcoWellness to have so many workout options, from indoor classes in studio settings to the many outdoor trails that contribute to the sheer beauty of our community. We enthusiastically vouch for the effectiveness of pilates both in the general sense and at studios in Williamson county. Just keep in mind that while pilates is fun and uber-addicting, you still have to get some cardio in to maintain a healthy heart.