Pilates focuses on building a balanced body. That is the main reason the exercises are so beneficial. Also, the basic principles of Pilates provide subtle adjustments that you can do all day to correct the alignment of your body and breath deeply.
Consider the basic principles first:
1) Breathing into the lower lobs of the lungs helps you to fill your lungs with air and get a deep breath. Fueling your body with oxygen is good for the muscles and the brain.
2) Pulling the belly button to the spine is something you can do during a class or during everyday life. This continually strengthens the core and helps protect the lower back.
3) Considering the placement of your shoulders throughout the day, reminds you not to allow the body to sink forward, rounding your shoulders–the position we tend to assume while working at a computer all day. In doing so we are weakening our rhomboids (the muscles between the shoulder blades that help hold the scapula in place) and making our upper back ache. Pilates gets you used to sliding your shoulder blades back and down your spine, lifting the breast bone, and lengthening the spine. You’ll be strengthening your rhomboids behind their back. Pun intended.
4) Kegel exercises are important for men and women, but especially women. As women age and after childbirth, many women experience incontinence. Contracting the kegel can help reduce incidents.
Overall, the exercises help develop a strong, stable core (stomach, back, gluts) and long, limber limbs. Pilates can reduce postural imbalances, which often cause chronic back pain. There are many levels and modifications for each exercise, so a Pilates program can be geared toward any one’s fitness level and needs. It’s a full body workout incorporating the arms, legs, shoulders, glutes, abs, and back without being forceful to the joints, which bare the burden or our bodies daily through normal activities.
As with any form of exercise a class allows for a slot of time where you focus on yourself–your needs, and your physical goals without worrying about anyone else. Finding time can be challenging in today’s hectic and crazed world, but you’ll be all the better for it, and so will everyone you come in contact with.