University Park Gym: Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is a unique form of exercise that connects mind and body, and it is for people of all fitness levels. Pilates is a method of exercise that uses low-impact flexibility, strength and endurance movements with an emphasis on abs, back, hips and thighs, to build core strength. According to the Mayo Clinic website, “Pilates is an accessible way to build strength in your core muscles for better posture, balance and flexibility.”

Three Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is a challenging form of exercise for people of all fitness levels. There are modifications to every movement with increasing levels of difficulty, allowing you to always get the workout that best suits your current fitness level. These are the three primary benefits of Pilates:

1) Improved core strength and stability — Pilates is more than an abdominal workout; it works the entire body, head to toe, with a focus on the core. Pilates exercises tighten the core, making it stronger and leaner.

2) Improved posture and balance — Through a series of smooth, fluid movements, Pilates focuses on proper breathing and correct spinal and pelvic alignment. Pilates connects mind and body, and through Pilates, you will learn how to control movements with power and efficiency.

3) Improved flexibility — A strong, flexible body is less prone to injury, whereas, short, bulky muscles are more likely to be injured. Pilates creates long, lean, flexible muscles and reduces injury risk by elongating and strengthening muscles, while improving muscle elasticity and joint movement.

A healthy fitness program consists of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity) and strength training exercises. While Pilates is an excellent strength-training workout, it is not aerobic exercise. For that reason, Pilates should be considered just one aspect of your workout and should be supplemented with aerobic exercise such as biking, brisk walking, swimming or running.

At SWEAT, the Pilates studio is available by appointment to our clients as well as through our Fitness on Demand program. One of our own personal trainers, Leigh Prewitt Harkrider, is certified in Power Pilates and offers comprehensive training in the total body stability, strength and flexibility exercises for her clients.