Joseph Pilates introduced his method of exercise to America in the early 1920s with his wife Clara, and together they developed and taught the method in their 'body-conditioning gym' in New York in 1926. Mind and body are brought together to strengthen your muscles, leading to a healthier, stronger lifestyle through Pilates. Pittsburgh has many great studios that can help introduce these benefits into your life, but Touchstone Pilates is the only studio in the area that teaches the method of Pilates that Joseph Pilates handed to Romana Kryzanowska. From increased strength and flexibility to health benefits, Pilates has a lot to offer.
Pilates Increases Strength
Gaining strength through the Pilates method of exercise
One of the most common benefits of Pilates that people notice is the increase in strength they feel. While any type of exercise will increase your muscle mass, Pilates is intended to tone and lengthen the muscles. The Pilates method uses your own body weight as resistance to work and tone small and large muscle groups, some of which are not worked through other methods of exercise. Your core strength and muscle tone will increase once you routinely do Pilates. Pittsburgh’s premier Pilates studio, Touchstone Pilates, works with clients to ensure they’re moving correctly while motivating them to strengthen and stretch their bodies.
Pilates Increases Flexibility
Increase your flexibility through Pilates exercises
One benefit of Pilates that is sometimes overlooked is the increase in flexibility. Pilates lengthens and stretches all the major muscle groups in the body in a balanced fashion. It improves flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness. The more you do Pilates, the more flexible you will become.
Pilates is an adaptable workout
No matter your fitness level or age, Pilates is adaptable
If you’ve never taken Pilates, you may be worried that the workout will be too intense based on age or fitness level. No matter where you are in your physical fitness journey, Pilates can work for you. There are over 500 exercises and, with a comprehensively trained instructor, modifications can be made to fit your body and capability while still pushing you to improve. When taking a class, your instructor will work with you to adapt the exercises to something that will work for you.
Pilates is low-impact yet still challenging
Looking for a low-impact workout like Pilates? Pittsburgh’s premier Pilates studio can help
Pilates classes are filled with low-impact exercises to improve your flexibility and strength while providing a challenging workout. Pilates is a great alternative to high-impact workouts, and may even work your muscles harder than a high-impact exercise. In Pilates, you’ll focus more on control and precision, ensuring that you’re correctly executing the movements and working the right muscles. There is minimal impact on your joints overall. You’ll engage with muscles that you may not normally use and push them until exhaustion. Low-impact exercises are much more sustainable as you’re less likely to face injury, so you can be sure that you’ll be able to practice Pilates long-term.
Pilates helps you feel more connected to your mind and body
Connecting with the six core principles of Pilates for mindfulness
Joseph Pilates based his work on the body as a whole encompassing the mind, body and spirit. At the core of the method , are six principles that guide this connection.
- Centering: This concept is defined as physically bringing the focus to the center of the body, the core or “powerhouse area between the lower ribs and pubic bone. Energetically, Pilates exercises are sourced from the center.
- Concentration: If you bring full attention to the exercise and do it with full commitment, you will obtain maximum value from each movement.
- Control: Every Pilates exercise is done with complete muscular control. No body part is left to its own devices. It is all a conscious, deliberate movement that the mind is controlling.
- Precision: In Pilates, awareness is sustained throughout each movement. There is an appropriate placement, alignment relative to other body parts, and trajectory for each part of the body.
- Breath: Joseph Pilates emphasized using a very full breath in his exercises. He advocated thinking of the lungs as a bellows—using them strongly to pump the air fully in and out of the body. Most Pilates exercises coordinate with the breath, and using the breath properly is an integral part of Pilates exercise.
- Flow: Pilates exercise is done in a flowing manner. Fluidity, grace, and ease are goals applied to all exercises. The energy of an exercise connects all body parts and flows through the body in an even way. Pilates equipment, like the reformer, are very good mirrors of one's flow and concentration as they tend to bang around and suddenly become quite "machine-like" if one loses one's control and flow.
Pilates can offer many health benefits
See the health benefits through pilates
- Helps improve brain function. Pilates can help you think and solve problems quicker. It also shows signs of helping people with brain degenerative diseases and cognitive dysfunctions.
- Helps spinal alignment. Working and toning the muscles around your back can help spinal health.
- Boosts energy levels. Improving your breathing technique through Pilates and increasing endurance levels through exercises can help boost energy levels throughout your day.
- Helps calm your mind and body. Pilates links directly to relieving anxiety and depression, improving focus, managing chronic pain, and improving cardiovascular health.
Thinking about starting Pilates? Pittsburgh has great Pilates studios, including Touchstone Pilates. Touchstone is a fully equipped studio offering private, semi-private, small group and virtual classes based on the classical method of Pilates as Joseph Pilates handed to Romana Kryzanowska. Contact us today to schedule a session.