February 20, 2012
Fitness, Lifestyle, Pilates
, Joseph Pilates
9. Increases Awareness – Body/Mind Connection
Joseph Pilates was adamant that Pilates, or Contrology as he called it, was about “the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” This is one of the secrets of Pilates exercise: we practice each movement with total attention. When we exercise in this way, the body and mind unite to bring forth the most benefit possible from each exercise. The Pilates principles — centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow — are key concepts that we use to integrate body and mind.
One of the things that almost always happens in a Pilates class is that students move too quickly through the exercises. Even as instructors count to keep a pace or flow for the class, people speed up even without realizing it. What do we get when we speed up? Yes, that’s right, momentum. While momentum might make exercises seem easier, using propulsion to get up off the floor or swing our legs behind us, speed degrades the quality of movement. Some of the most difficult Pilates moves are so because they are done slowly, with precision. As a Pilates instructor, if I had to choose one principle on which to build my Pilates practice, it would be precision.
Make Joseph Pilates (see below) proud…and execute your movements with precision and concentration in order to build beautiful, strong and lean bodies!
February 19, 2012
Fitness, Nutrition, Pilates
, lose 10 pounds
8. Promotes Weight Loss and Long, Lean Appearance
If you practice Pilates regularly, it will change your body. Known for creating long, strong muscles and a leaner look; Pilates improves muscle tone, balances musculature, supports beautiful posture, and teaches you to move with ease and grace. All of these things will make you look and feel very fit.
If you want to lose weight, the formula for weight loss remains the same: Burn more calories than you take in. As a full-body fitness method, Pilates help will help you do that. Combined with aerobic activity, Pilates becomes a prime weight loss and body toning tool.
The simple fact is this: muscles burns twice as many calories as fat. Pound per pound, a body with more muscle mass is far more efficient than one composed of more fat. Since Pilates is primarily a strength-training regimen designed to build long, lean muscles, this is the routine for someone who wants to shed fat and look svelte!
7. Increases Energy
It might seem like a paradox, but the more you exercise, the more energy you have and the more you feel like doing (to a point, of course). Pilates gets the breath and circulation moving, stimulates the spine and muscles, and floods the body with the good feelings one gets from exercising the whole body.
What are we talking about here? That’s right…ENDORPHINS! To quote the award-winning movie Legally Blonde, ” Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” Admittedly we are discussing endorphins in a different context, but the idea is the same: Pilates is great exercise, and exercise increases endorphins. Endorphins give you a much-needed energy boost, and who does not want more energy!
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6. Improves Posture
Good posture is a reflection good alignment supported by a strong core. It is a position from which one can move freely. Starting with Pilates movement fundamentals and moving through mat and equipment exercises, Pilates trains the body to express itself with strength and harmony. You can see this in the beautiful posture of those who practice Pilates.
As a Pilates instructor, I am often asked if I am a dancer. Although there are moments when I want to say ‘why yes, I have been for 15 years’ the truth is I have no dance background at all. But the fact that people think of Ballet dancers when they see someone who practices Pilates is a testament to the postural benefits of the discipline!
In reference to the last post, here is an article detailing exactly how a Pilates practice can improve one’s sex life!
Practice Pilates and have great sex!
5. Develops Core Strength
The core muscles of the body are the deep muscles of the back, abdomen, and pelvic floor. These are the muscles we rely on to support a strong, supple back, good posture, and efficient movement patterns. When the core is strong, the frame of the body is supported. This means the neck and shoulders can relax, and the rest of the muscles and joints are freed to do their jobs — and not more. A nice side benefit is that the core training promotes the flat abs that we all covet.
Even though a lot of people are interested in Pilates because they want that 6-pack, those 6-pack muscles (rectus abdominus) barely scratch the surface of what Pilates can offer practitioners. A strong back will prevent injury as well as mitigate the effects of aging and lifestyle. Exercising those pelvic floor muscles helps women with the birthing process, and helps everyone with issues of incontinence.
Pilates is also great for sex. Yes, strong pelvic floor muscles increase sexual pleasure and if that is not enough of a reason to get to your closest Pilates studio, then also remember that Pilates helps people to stand up straighter. Good posture makes one look taller, slimmer, and duplicates the appearance of a 10 pound weight loss!
So get thee to a Pilates studio, like Springwater Pilates!
4. Increases Flexibility
In Pilates, we work toward a safe increase in length and stretch of the muscles and range of motion within the joints. You won’t find quite as much “pretzel logic” in Pilates as you might in yoga, but a body that can stretch and bend to meet the flow of life is a very realistic goal.
Note the words safe and realistic – keeping in mind that some bodies are very flexible while many have injuries and range of motion issues, Pilates works to be gentle on bodies while building the strength needed to prevent injury and support both athletic and every day activities.
So remember: Sunday is a great day for Pilates! While not many exercise classes typically take place on Sunday (beyond the morning) at Springwater Pilates we are now starting some Sunday afternoon classes to help you ease back into your work week. Come check us out!
It is time to learn point 3 of 10 in the top 10 reasons to maintain a Pilates Practice:
3. Creates Strength Without Bulk
Long, lean muscles are the name of the game here. In Pilates, we are not looking to build muscles for show. We are building toned muscles that work perfectly within the context of the body as a whole, and the functional fitness
needs of a person as they move through life.One of the ways that Pilates creates long, strong muscles is by taking advantage of a type of muscle contraction called an eccentric contraction.
By the way, eccentric contractions take place when one lengthens the muscle (versus shortening a muscle during a concentric contraction) while resisting a movement. For example, the inward phase of a bicep curl, as the hand bends in towards the shoulder, is a concentric contraction; however, when one resists the return, slowly lengthening the arm back out, an eccentric contraction takes place. The muscle is being used and building strength yet growing longer at the same time. Since so much of Pilates is about resistance, it is a discipline where the ‘eccentric contraction cup’ runneth over. Pilates effectively develops long, lean muscles because of this very emphasis on the lengthening stage, or eccentric portion, of muscle contraction!
Come back to learn about benefit 4 of 10 tomorrow!
Now that we have established that Pilates is a wonderful whole-body fitness regimen, let’s move on to reason 2 out of our top 10 benefits of a Pilates practice!
2. Adaptable to Many Fitness Levels and Needs
Whether you are a seniorjust starting to exercise, an elite athlete or somewhere in between, the foundations of Pilates movement apply to you. Building from core strength, focusing on proper alignment, and a body/mind integrative approach make Pilates accessible to all. With thousands of possible exercises and modifications, Pilates workouts can be tailored to individual needs.
There is so much to learn…come back for reason 3 tomorrow and continue to follow the links or check other websites to learn even more about Pilates!
February 7, 2012
Fitness, Groupon, Pilates
Also located under the schedule tab, this is the up-to-date February schedule:
Tuesday (1st, 3rd, 5th one of the month)
5:30pm – Mad Props – Mat Pilates with Props
6:30pm – Group Reformer
Tuesday (2nd, 4th one of the month)
5:30pm – Group Reformer
6:30pm – Mat Pilates R.U.B. (ripped upper body)
11:00am – Group reformer
Noon – All Levels Mat Pilates
9:00am – Group Reformer
10:00am – FREE Intro to Pilates (10-15 min.)
10:15am – All Levels Pilates Bootcamp
11:30am – Group Reformer
Sunday (2nd, 4th one of the month)
4:00pm – Group Reformer
5:00pm – Mat Pilates Mystery Core – Rotating Format!
Come on down and check out a class! There are drop in spaces available and enough to go around!