5 Surprising Reasons Pilates Might Be Your New Favorite Fitness Class

We’ve all been there. You get to the gym, take a look at the classes for the week and before you can book, all the classes you want to do seem to be gone.  Maybe you should branch out, try something different, but you don’t know where to start.  We’d recommend pilates; here’s five reasons why.

1. It encourages you to think of your body and mind as one

“Pilates in its gentlest form is very much a mind/body discipline. It calms you both inside and out, connecting you to your deeper core muscles,” notes personal trainer and pilates instructor, Mary Huckle.

Many ancient health philosophies – which, remember, informed much of modern medicine – revolve around holistic principles, which basically means that body and mind are linked.

It’s something Western societies have lost touch with in modern times, but we only have to look at ourselves and our own experiences to be reminded just how true it is that physical and emotional health are closely intertwined: how you get more colds when you’re stressed; why that headache intensifies when you’re under pressure; how positive distractions can take the edge off that sore knee…

Holistic exercise is the ‘buzz’ in the industry right now, and pilates is hugely popular.

“It’s a challenging deep-core workout, but is much kinder to body and mind. It allows you to be mindful and focus on the inside, and encourages slower-paced movement based around great technique.

“The perfect way to take time out, while still getting an amazing feel-good workout,” says Elaine Denton, personal trainer and group health and fitness support for David Lloyd Clubs.

2. It could make you a better runner/cyclist/tennis player

If you think pilates isn’t ‘your thing’, because you prefer a particular sport or more vigorous exercise, think again.

A strong core, good alignment and even better breathing technique will all help support your body in your fitness pursuits elsewhere.

A good core isn’t just about blitzing those abs crunches; there’s far more to it – and investing a little time in it through Pilates could pay dividends in terms of boosting your overall performance in whatever exercise you enjoy and preventing injury.

3. It can help with chronic pain management

Of course, anybody with a medical condition or chronic pain problems should seek professional advice before embarking on any new exercise regime – but providing you listen to your body, start gently and stay within your limits, pilates could become a central, possibly even life-changing, part of how you manage your condition in the long-term, both physically and psychologically.

Strengthening your core and keeping muscles loose can help to support your body, removing strain from joints, for example.

Pilates can also provide a gentle way of keeping your circulation up, hopefully helping relieve pain over time and bring about an often much-needed sense of doing something positive for your body.

“Exercise is being described as the new drug, and in particular pilates is being prescribed by more and more GPs as either an alternative to drugs or as a complementary therapy.

“It also has proven benefits for sufferers of neurological conditions, as well as the more common postural alignment benefits, for example, improving lower back pain and in certain cases, even avoiding surgery,” says Huckle.

4. It relieves stress

Fans of pilates are well aware that it works wonders for the mind as well as the body, and a recent study found it really does help us deal with mental and emotional stress.

“The scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have identified a circuit, which directly links part of the brain to the adrenal medulla (this is the inner part of the adrenal gland, which triggers an adrenal surge when we feel stressed).

“The very same network is also associated with the part of our brain which controls movements,” explains Robinson.

So put down the stress ball and pick up a pilates mat, you’ll feel better for it.

5. Physiotherapists often recommend it

When you have a history of injuries or musculoskeletal problems, perhaps associated with back pain (as we know, extremely common in the UK!), it’s easy to think you need to avoid physical activity as much as possible.

Experts are increasingly trying to highlight that, in fact, the opposite is true, and staying as regularly active as possible is actually vital in managing such problems.

Of course, some people may need rest periods and you’ll still need to be sensible, but there’s good reason a lot of physiotherapists encourage patients to take up gentle pilates.

“Pilates sessions can really help manage back pain. At Boost Physio, we have special remedial pilates sessions and classes for women suffering from back pain or recovering from injuries.

We work with our clients on safely strengthening the core posture, deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles that protect and support the spine.

This is ideal for women recovering from back injuries or spine problems and regular Pilates sessions are fantastic for recovery, long term pain management and prevention”, says Laura Herman of Boost Physio.

SOURCE: BreakingNews.ie

Feel The Burn With This Pilates Abs Exercise

This classic mat move deserves a spot in any abs workout.

Jacob Ammentorp Lund / Getty Images

Jacob Ammentorp Lund / Getty Images

Pilates isn’t always thought of as the most muscle-shaking, ab-quaking workout ever, but there are some moves that seriously challenge this notion. If you haven’t already, meet the Pilates 100, one of the method’s classic core exercises. And there’s a reason it’s been a mainstay for so long: This abs move seriously puts your muscles to the test. 

“The Pilates 100 helps to strengthen and sculpt the abs because it helps engage the transverse abdominals, which basically means the deepest set of muscles you have in your lower belly,” says Kit Rich, an L.A.-based trainer, Pilates instructor, and Lucy Activewear pro. Plus, it definitely brings the Pilates ~vibe~ to whatever workout you’re doing. “This one move encompasses all Pilates principles: concentration, centering, control, breathing, precision, and flow,” adds Rich.

To make the most of this move, do it before your other core-focused exercises (just like you would in a Pilates class), says Rich. “It’s a warm up for the abs and a great connection for mind and body,” says Rich. Plus, “the pumping of the arms helps get the blood moving in the body.” Ready to kick off your abs workout with this simple but challenging move? Here’s how to do it. 

Pilates 100

Whitney Thielman

Whitney Thielman

  • To get into position, lie on your back with your knees bent, then lift your feet off the floor into table top position (your knees should be stacked above your hips and bent at a 90-degree angle, your lower legs parallel to the floor). Point your toes, squeeze your heels together, and extend your legs straight and forward to about a 65-degree angle—for more of a challenge, you bring your legs a bit lower to the ground. Lift your head and shoulders off the mat and extend your arms by your side. Hold this position throughout the exercise.
  • With your arms straight out by your sides, begin pumping your arms up and down using your triceps, inhaling through the nose for five pumps and exhaling out of the mouth for five pumps for a total of 10 times. “This is why it’s called the hundreds,” says Rich. How fast your arms move will depend on how fast you’re breathing, and every individual (and instructor) is different, says Rich. (If you’re just starting out, she recommends a medium to fast pace, as shown.) 
  • Now for a few form notes: With every inhale, imagine the belly button is pulling in towards the floor (this is called the Pilates scoop), and with your exhale try to pull in even deeper, says Rich. Keep your shoulders wide and slide your shoulder blades down your back.
  • You can modify if you need to, too: “If you have a sensitive back, keep knees bent in table top position,” says Rich. “If you have a sensitive neck, feel free to keep your head down.”

Chances are, you’ll start feeling the burn way before you hit 100.

SOURCE:  By: Alexa Tucker - self.com

Kate Hudson, Sofia Vergara and Bella Thorne: Celebrities Who Love Pilates Workouts

Everyone wants the perfect summer body, and celebrities are no exception. Huge stars like Kate Hudson, Sofia Vergara, and Bella Thorneall pride themselves on looking good for the big screen and staying fit for their busy lives. All three actresses do have a secret in common though—and that is their love for Pilates workouts and its amazing benefits!

The celebrity world is not new to showing off fad diets and exercises for us to see, but these ladies look incredible! And you can too! Read on to learn more about the benefits of a Pilates workout and some of the reasons these actresses adore their workouts and the results they get. Clearly they are doing something right, and we want to know more!

Kate Hudson Expresses Love for Pilates

Kate Hudson filming a Pilates Commercial in Santa Barbara. Credit: Splash News.

Kate Hudson filming a Pilates Commercial in Santa Barbara. Credit: Splash News.

Kate Hudson is an actress best known for roles in Almost Famous, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, and Bride Wars. The mom of two carries herself well, paying attention to fitness and health while not obsessing over the small stuff. Hudson likes to stay active, and she even created her own line of active wear to share with fans that also have a passion for hitting the gym. So, being a fitness babe, what is Hudson’s favorite workout? The actress admits she loves reformer Pilates, and that it has changed her body.

Hudson even expressed her love for Pilates on Instagram.

Back with my girl @nicolestuartla 👯 #pilates #reformer #gunsandroses 🌹

A photo posted by Kate Hudson (@katehudson) on

 

She is clearly experienced and sensationally fit! Hudson also keeps a balanced lifestyle which can be an inspiration to us all – combining working hard in the gym, eating healthy foods and also taking time to laugh and be silly.

Why Sofia Vergara and Bella Thorne Love Pilates

Another scorching hot star who loves the benefits of Pilates workouts?Modern Family actress, Sofia Vergara has recently been seen across social media playing with a new toy – if you call a Megaformer M3 a toy. I guess a fit mama like Vergara would – because she likes to stay in great shape, knowing it’s good for the body, mind and soul.

Eighteen-year-old Bella Thorne is also regularly spotted at a Pilates studio in Los Angeles, so it looks like she’s a huge believer in the workout regime, too. The 5-foot-8 beauty recently shared with fans that she mostly works out her core, abs, legs and butt—but not really her chest or shoulders as she tries to stay away from bulking in that area.

Thorne also loves her jumping squats. The actress will definitely be in immaculate shape for her upcoming film Boo! A Madea Halloween, giving us more of the silly side of her that fans love so much. She is one star who demonstrates it’s never too early to take care of your health or reap the benefits of Pilates anytime.

Benefits of Pilates Workouts

Did you know that the benefits of Pilates reach much further than just your body? The workout has tremendous benefits for your mind and overall posture, too. Pilates is actually a workout that focuses on the quality of movement and breathing, not just how many reps you can do.

Deep breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, coupled with concentration on controlled flowing movements is the recipe for a successful Pilates workout. It helps you to control and become more attuned with your body. It also helps reduce stress because of proper breathing.

Pilates can help you develop a strong core, gain and elongate lean muscles, as well as strengthen muscle elasticity and joint mobility. Because the body becomes strong and flexible through Pilates, it also helps prevent injury.
Pilates is also known to work out the whole body – targeting all muscles – even the ones in your ankles and feet. This creates balance throughout your whole body and conditions it in such a way that sports and other daily activities become easier all around.

Pilates is also all about technique – training several muscle groups at once, and this re-trains your body to move more safely, improving posture and optimal health. This is one of the reasons why it’s excellent for athletes – better sports performance and better injury recovery.

Another great thing about a Pilates workout is that it is both gentle and challenging.

Pilates is a low impact, partially weight bearing workout, and this is why it is used in rehab and therapeutic facilities. However, as your body begins to strengthen, exercises can be modified to increase the level of difficulty, anywhere from beginner to advanced.

There are clearly so many reasons why sizzling stars like Kate Hudson, Sofia Vergara and Bella Thorne love Pilates workouts. It is a flexible exercise system for anyone, even beginners. It helps strengthen the body with low resistance, improves posture and reduces stress through learning how to properly breathe. It’s no wonder these lovely ladies enjoy the endless benefits of a truly versatile Pilates workout. It nurtures body and mind – and we think these ladies are smart for giving back to their whole selves – they deserve it!

You can enjoy a Pilates workout anytime too – it doesn’t have to be on a reformer machine or a big Megaformer M3. Start with deep breathing exercises and stretches and even check online for simple videos you can follow at home. This way, just like the stars, you can be sensationally fit and do something good for yourself!

And if you need any inspiration, just check out Kate Hudson, Sofia Vergara and Bella Thorne – they’re dedication to Pilates workouts make it easy to see that with the right attitude you can get results! Keep calm and Pilates on…

Sources:

By : Wendy Potter Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Astorino, D., “15 Times Kate Hudson Exercised Her Way Into Our Fitness-Loving Hearts” Popsugar website; July 7, 2016; http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Kate-Hudson-Workout-Inspiration-41898086#photo-41898086; last accessed July 15, 2016.
“Sofia Vergara Gets New Workout Toy, Shows Us All in the Best Way” Perez Hilton website;http://perezhilton.com/tag/sofia/#.V4ZY-3V95pg; last accessed July 15, 2016.
Carpenter, C., “Bella Thorne Stretches It Out on Pilates Machine…before changing into lacy bustier” Daily Mailwebsite; July 2, 2016; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3671030/Bella-Thorne-stretches-Pilates-machine-changing-lacy-bustier.html#ixzz4EIp0L0RH; last accessed July 15, 2016.
“The Benefits of Pilates” balanced body website; http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/pilates/benefits-of-pilates.html; last accessed July 15, 2016.

The best exercise for the menopause? Pilates

Pilates could help take some of the pain out of the menopause.  The yoga-like stretching exercises help strengthen the bones and muscles and boost quality of life, Spanish doctors and scientists said. For those who would prefer to do something a bit more active, weightlifting and trendy interval training are also recommended.

It is thought that exercise makes it easier for the body to deal with the lapses in heat control that occur around the menopause due to hormonal changes. Researcher Dr Helen Jones said the results were so impressive that exercise could be a natural alternative to HRT.  

The yoga-like stretching exercises involved in Pilates help strengthen the bones and muscles and boost quality of life, Spanish researchers found.  Exercise also brings other benefits from healthier hearts to weight loss, the European Menopause Society’s journal reports.

The typical British woman goes through the menopause at 51.  Symptoms, which range from hot flushes to sleepless nights, headaches and depression, can last for 14 years.

Hormone-replacement therapy is the main treatment, but is not suitable for all and many who could take it are put off by fears that it may trigger breast cancer.  Those who do start on it can suffer unpleasant side-effects, from headaches to heartburn, leading many women to try things like acupuncture and herbal supplements.

To find out of exercise could be a suitable treatment, the study’s authors, from the Spanish Menopause Society, the Spanish Cardiology Society and the Spanish Federation of Sports Medicine, reviewed published studies on the topic.

The benefits were so pronounces, the exercise could be a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy, researchers said.  They said that while swimming, dancing and other forms of activity all have benefits, Pilates, weight lifting and high intensity interval training are likely to be the most beneficial.

Writing in the journal Maturitas, the researchers said that these three forms of exercise are especially good because they improve balance, which helps prevent falls.

They concluded: ‘Physical inactivity not only places women’s health at risk but also increases menopausal problems.

‘Abundant evidence links habitual physical exercise to a better status on numerous health indicators and a better quality of life and to the prevention and treatment of ailments that typically occur from mid-life onwards.

‘We can infer that physical activity is something more than a lifestyle; it constitutes a form of therapy in itself.’  The recommendations come a few months after a British study endorsed the benefits of an active middle age.

Research from Liverpool John Moores University found that women who worked up a sweat in the gym suffered fewer hot flushes than those with a more sedentary lifestyle. And the flushes they did experience were less severe.  This is important because hot flushes are the most common and distressing symptom of the menopause and can disturb sleep, drain energy and cause embarrassment. A single flush can last from a few seconds to as long as an hour.

It is thought that exercise makes it easier for the body to deal with the lapses in heat control that occur around the menopause due to hormonal changes. 

NFL player Martellus Bennett keeps himself game-ready with Pilates

By: Beth Johnson

Unlike most of his teammates, Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, 26, isn’t carbo loading, lifting weights or going for a jog before home games. As often as he can, he’s doing Pilates with Luann Brusa at TruCore Pilates in suburban Chicago.

At 6’7” and 265 pounds, Bennett isn’t what immediately comes to mind when you think “Pilates student.” And he admits, “flexibility isn’t naturally easy for me.” Though football traditionally places more emphasis on strength than “stretch,” Bennett also knows this is a liability, because a collision sport like football takes a toll on the body—even when you’re as big as he is. “I’m a tight end, which is a position on the offensive line that requires both blocking and running. I’m always getting hit, or hitting someone, in every single play,” he explains.

The usual football training regimen—running, weights and more weights—isn’t always enough to prepare you for 300-plus pounds of linebacker coming at you full speed. “So between getting slammed on the field by huge players and the type of training we do, our joints really get struck down,” Bennett says. “There is also a lot of stress on the lower back. The truth is, anyone who is playing in the NFL is never playing at 100 percent once the season starts, because some part of your body is always hurting.”

Bennett, a Texas native who played for the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants before joining the Bears this season, had been looking for a way to compensate for the brutal pounding his body took every week, both on the field and in the training room. “About five years ago, when I was playing for the Cowboys, I really wanted to find a new way to better my body, and to become more flexible.

“First I tried yoga, but I have ADD, so holding positions for a long time—and all that chanting—just wasn’t for me,” he recalls. “One day, I noticed a Pilates studio—Cindy’s Pilates—next door to a boxing gym in Irving, TX, where I worked out with some other teammates.”

One day after a workout, his curiosity got the best of him and he decided to check out the studio, which is owned by Cindy Gegax, a STOTT PILATES®–trained teacher. “From watching some of the students do their routines, I knew right then that it was something that could help me,” he says. “I signed up for a lesson that day!”

From the start, he could tell that Pilates was exactly what his body needed. “From the first time that I did it, it just made sense to me,” he says. He also liked that the routines varied every session, depending on what he needed to work on at that moment—and what hurt. “At the time, my knee was bothering me, so Cindy gave me routines that catered to that. My hamstring also had a ‘glitch,’ so she helped me work that out. I really liked having a new routine each time that could be adjusted to my body’s needs, and Pilates became a regular part of my workout.”

When Bennett was signed by the Bears earlier this year, he found another Pilates teacher, Luann Brusa, owner of two TruCore Pilates locations, one in Killdeer and the other in Barrington, IL.

He finds his three to five Pilates sessions a week are the perfect complement to his football training. “To counteract the joint compression caused by weight lifting, I go straight from weights to Pilates as often as possible,” Bennett says. “Luann helps me work on rebalancing and activating my muscles—balance is so important for athletes.”

He’s also convinced Pilates has kept him surgery free. “I really want to keep myself as elongated as possible, because an elongated muscle is a strong muscle. When you fall, or someone falls on you, that’s when you end up breaking things. So by gaining flexibility through Pilates, I’m able to ‘go with it’ much more when I’m hit, and it helps minimize any injuries. I’m also able to strengthen the muscles around the joints, which in turn, gives the joints more support and stability.

During a session, he uses various equipment, including the Cadillac, Reformer and Chair, as well as props like balls and the Magic Circle. “Luann is good at mixing it up for me, so that every session is fresh,” he says. “Partly it depends on what part of my body needs to be worked on during a session, plus we always make sure my hamstrings are good. We also do a lot of deep stretching and work on my spine. Of course, everything on the Box is great for my spine and posture. I’ll admit that with my height it can be challenging…but I’m always up for a challenge!”

Pilates can also be humbling for a professional athlete. “Pilates has a way of finding your weakness and showing you what you need to be working on,” he points out. “I feel that a standard football workout uses the major, dynamic muscles, but not the smaller, supporting muscles that hold up the bigger ones. That’s where Pilates comes in for me.”

His favorite move? Leg Circles. “They work the muscles that aren’t being worked by the other training I was doing. They have really helped me improve my flexibility in my hips, which in turn, has helped me to be able to switch directions more quickly on the field. I’ve been working on that a lot this season, and you know what’s amazing? Thanks to Pilates, I’m better at that now than I’ve ever been.”

Bennett recently drafted a new “player” to Pilates—his wife Siggi. “I was going to the studio with some other players who are into Pilates and I asked my wife if she wanted to join us. Even on the first try, it was really impressive how easily it came to her—probably because she grew up doing a lot of dance and ballet. The guys with me started joking that she couldn’t come again, because she made them look bad!”

And therein lies the irony of Pilates. “I know players who lift hundreds of pounds, run fast and slam into other guys—but when they try Pilates the first time, they can’t believe how hard it is. That’s what is so interesting about it. You watch someone do it and it doesn’t necessarily seem like they’re doing as much work as they are.”
Now that he’s got his wife on board, he’s working to recruit other players. “I’ve got to get more football guys doing Pilates! With all the hits to the body the players receive, Pilates could really help them.” So far, the most common response has been, “Isn’t Pilates just for girls?” he says. “But I tell them ‘you’re wrong, but if you think that, then why don’t you at least try it?’”

“The bottom line is that football is my job, and I want to do my job really well. Anything that can give me a competitive advantage on the field and help reduce injuries is a huge plus for me. It’s weird—I can lift 500 pounds, but in a Pilates session, there’s always some different type of motion that’s hard for me to do. That’s what is so great about it!”

And it’s paid off: In his first game for his new team, Bennett caught a touchdown pass against the Cincinnati Bengals so amazing, it was accorded the ultimate honor: It became an Internet GIF.