The founder of Pilates, Joseph Herbertus Pilates was an extraordinary innovator of his time. He created something truly remarkable that could be shared with the entire human race indefinitely. But has Pilates been underrated and overlooked? Absolutely. I’ve been in the Pilates industry for 22 years. I am no spring chicken to it either. It also means that I have considerable experience of what changes Pilates can bring to any individual. It should be your go-to exercise for strength, tone, and the mind-body connection. All great for anti-aging and your longevity.
I’m always fascinated to see how so many articles in magazines are focused on boot camp, weight training, running, yoga or group fitness. Not to mention the fact that we see the same exercises that constantly feature in all the health magazines, labelled as the ‘go to’ exercises: The plank, ball workouts, the same ab workouts, the usual stretches and don’t forget the bridge. However, we have missed one amazing form of exercise that promotes longevity. A mind-body connection like no other. An amazing workout and not to mention variety like nothing you have ever experienced before. I’m referring to the amazing world of the Pilates Mat and Equipment repertoire.
It’s a life-changing anti-aging exercise
Joseph Pilates came up with a series of movements that not only incorporated stretching, but also encouraged the body to build muscle.
If you have not seen the Reformer or Cadillac before, you could confuse them with some kind of medieval torture device. But when you have the privilege of moving on Pilates equipment, you’ll experience how your body awakens.
If I think about Pilates, the words that immediately come to my mind are: Life changing, magical, intense. Also challenging, creative, impressive, healing, powerful, gentle and oozing with pure movement bliss.
Are we not over, seeing planks, pelvic hinges on the ball and push-ups in a magazine? People are in search of variety, adventure and achievable goals and something that will make them look and feel great. But let us not forget the benefits that Pilates has within the body. Where the shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles yell ‘Hallelujah’ for all the good loving that they receive.
Anyone can do it
This exercise judges nobody, no matter your age, shape, size, fitness or strength. I believe this is the most adaptable form of exercise that’s currently out there, that affords the client an opportunity to work in a more private setting if required. That feeling of euphoria, comfort and security combined with powerful results, lies within the root of the Pilates Repertoire. Whenever we read of healthy mind-body exercise, we read of Yoga. Don’t get me wrong, yoga is amazing, However, Pilates benefits are endless when it comes to anti-aging.
Strengthen your core and tone your muscles for longevity
How has the industry missed the ACE of exercise forms?
If you were told that there was a form of exercise that enabled you to; explore and discover your body in motion, tone your muscles, strengthen your core. Increase your overall flexibility, increase full body strength and promote longevity, would you not sign up in a heartbeat?
Ok, so you pay a little more for a Pilates session. But to be 100% honest, this is investing in your body. It’s about anti-aging, living well and avoiding those horrendous medical bills.
Depressed, pregnant or for sports?
This is not about quick fixes. This anti-aging exercise is focused on pretty much everything and your final destination is longevity.
Do you want to tone, rehabilitate or enhance your sports performance? Are you pregnant? Pilates will help. Do you need to de-stress? If you’re looking for a holistic approach to your body? Pilates. You want fewer aches and pains? You’re depressed? This exercise will help.
If you want variety? There are at least 540 exercises to choose from and with modification as much as 2000 different exercises. It’s insane, but true!
No matter your age
Have you ever seen Pilates Equipment? Even the names are cool. There’s the Cadillac and the Wunda Chair. Ladder Barrel, Spine Corrector and of course, the Reformer. Have you seen the really impressive Pilates repertoire of anti-aging exercises? The Swan, Cobra, Hundreds, Flying Eagle, Teaser, Butterfly and the Mermaid to name a few.
I’ve trained professional sportsmen and women. From the elderly, the super fit, to the not so fit, the injured, pregnant ladies and those that just need to do something to stay healthy. Guess what? They’re addicted. 22 years later I am also more addicted than ever before. What a healthy addiction!
Get a good instructor
Often sports can be predisposed to certain injuries but Pilates brings something different to your workout and plays an incredible role in cross-training. It was due to dance. I discovered Pilates in 1998 and used it as my form of cross-training. My performance improved and it definitely reduced my rate of injuries!
My advice would be that you make sure that you attend class at a professional Pilates studio.
Before you join a studio, ask yourself these questions?
- What is the energy like at the studio? Welcoming and supportive?
- Are you learning anything from the instructor?
- Do they adjust an exercise for you according to your needs?
- Is your class full of variety, movement, discovery and the correct level of intensity?
- Are your instructors familiar with anatomy?
- Is the full Pilates space being utilized and are you exploring all the equipment?
- Do you feel that there is a good flow to your class?
So, this is my bit to get you to open your eyes to all the possibilities this exercise regime brings to your health and anti-aging regime.
Get hooked on the right things in life. The things that are going to prolong your health, your joints and your overall well-being. That’s Pilates!
About the author
Tanya Thompson is the CEO and Founder of Pilates Unlimited – the Art of Movement™ and Of-CourseOnline.com. With her tertiary qualifications being in professional dance (ballet, contemporary, Spanish & jazz), she has developed and presented specialized movement & rehabilitation courses to assist health care professionals and other movement professionals in their rehabilitation or training programs. She has also conducted studies using an EMG & Biodex to confirm the science behind merging Musculoskeletal Movement and the Art of Teaching. The results and outcomes of the tests were revolutionary. Tanya has inspired & assisted many Pilates instructors, Personal Trainers, Yoga Instructors, Group Fitness Instructors & Physiotherapists to improve their patients or clients results through effective, client-based movement & exercise. Tanya’s work is world renowned for being innovative, current, professional, scientific and most importantly, interactive.
You can read more about Pilates here.