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7 Reasons to Try Pilates

Enhance Your Mind-Body Connection and Start Cross-Training for Life!

Written by Rollingwood YMCA Pilates Instructor Kira Regan

Pilates, originally called "Contrology" by its creator, Joseph Pilates, was developed in the early 20th century. Pilates referred to this method of exercise as Contrology because he believed in the mind's control over the body and emphasized the importance of conscious control and precise movements in his exercises. The name was later changed to Pilates, which became the widely recognized term for this renowned low-impact modality of training that emphasizes the integration of mind and body.

By engaging in Pilates, you can improve muscular endurance, strength, flexibility, mobility, and overall well-being. Grounded in six foundational principles, including concentration, control, centering, flow, precision, and breath, Pilates offers a holistic approach to fitness. Incorporating Pilates into your routine not only enhances joint mobility and vitality but also reduces the risk of injuries. Whether you are an athlete or simply seeking rejuvenation in your daily life, Pilates is adaptable to all fitness levels and provides benefits at every stage of life!

Here are seven compelling reasons to try Pilates:

  1. Strengthen Your Core:  At the core of Pilates lies the development of a strong "core" - a concept aptly described by Balanced Body as encompassing the deep abdominal muscles, along with those nearest to the spine, the pelvic floor, and the diaphragm. Achieving optimal control of the core necessitates the harmonious integration of the muscles within the trunk, pelvis, and shoulder girdle. By diligently practicing Pilates, individuals can unlock the transformative power of their core, fostering stability, balance, and enhanced movement control throughout their entire body. 


  1. Alleviate Pain and Improve Flexibility: Pilates exercises promote proper alignment, strengthen the supportive muscles around the spine, and alleviate back and shoulder pain caused by poor posture or muscular imbalances. Dynamic and static stretches in Pilates also improve flexibility and joint mobility, enhancing your range of motion and reducing muscle stiffness. By incorporating a regular Pilates practice into your routine, you can enhance both your range of motion and control within your end ranges. This, in turn, leads to improved ease in performing daily activities and a reduction in aches and pains. 


  1. Enhance Body Awareness, Mindfulness, and Overall Well-Being: Pilates has a profound impact on overall well-being, encompassing physical, mental, and emotional dimensions. It stimulates the production of endorphins, natural painkillers and mood elevators, while proper breathing techniques reduce stress, promote relaxation, and boost energy levels. Pilates cultivates body awareness, releasing unnecessary tension and improving coordination, alignment, and movement efficiency. This holistic approach to movement integrates the mind, body, and spirit, fostering enhanced comfort and a profound sense of vitality, leading to a more balanced and fulfilling existence. 


  1. Prehab: Pilates serves as a proactive tool for prehabilitation, helping to reduce the likelihood of injuries, alleviate pain, and prepare for surgery. By addressing deficits in strength, stability, range of motion, balance, and joint function, Pilates improves overall joint health and counteracts the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Many health issues associated with modern living stem from repetitive, specialized movement patterns and sedentary work. Therefore, incorporating diverse movements into one's routine becomes crucial for maintaining optimal health, balanced musculature, and long-term vitality.


  1. Strengthen Neglected Stability Muscles: A comprehensive Pilates routine will also help you strengthen the often neglected and dormant stability muscles and body regions that facilitate the development of a strong, supple, and resilient body. When designing exercise programs, it is vital to acknowledge the significance of comprehensively targeting all muscle groups, avoiding any areas of neglect. Awareness should be maintained regarding muscles that may inadvertently be overlooked during sport-specific training or regular exercise regimens. It is common for individuals to exhibit compensations and biomechanical imbalances that require attention and correction. By proactively addressing these issues, individuals can rectify  imbalances, minimize the risk of injuries, alleviate pain, and maintain flexibility while optimizing performance. 


  1. Restore and Enhance Optimal Movement Patterns: Within its framework, Pilates inherently embraces the principles of the Joint-by-Joint Approach, developed by Gray Cook and Mike Boyle. The Joint-by-Joint Approach provides a simplified model for understanding the complexity of human movement, viewing the body as a "stack of joints" with distinct roles in terms of mobility and stability, progressing from the feet upwards. Each joint possesses a primary function but necessitates a balance of both mobility and stability. 


  1. Cross-Training for Life: Pilates is a versatile form of exercise that benefits people of all movement backgrounds and skill levels. It prepares you for various activities, enhances sports performance, aids in daily activities, and boosts creativity and focus at work. By incorporating Pilates into your fitness regimen, you invest in lifelong cross-training and reap the rewards of a strong mind-body connection.

Don't hesitate to sign up for a Pilates class or private session today! Pilates Reformer is offered at Rollingwood YMCA and Woodland YMCA Fitness Center locations, and Pilates Mat classes are offered at Sacramento Central YMCA.

*Pilates Reformer is offered on a private session basis at the Woodland YMCA Fitness Center. Email to book!

Start your journey of "cross-training for life" and experience the transformative benefits of Pilates on your mind, body, and overall well-being!