How To Strengthen Immunity, Improve Mental Health, And Age Gracefully? Say YES to a Healthy Lifestyle!
Nowadays, it’s no longer a question “if you’re busy” but rather, “how busy are you?” On any given day, our to-do lists are typically long and our stress levels are frequently high, especially in these alarming circumstances.
Between work, home life, and many other “more important” responsibilities, sometimes there’s hardly enough time for anything else, much less exercise. It’s easy to undermine our health when deadlines are looming and bills are piling up.
These days we’ve all been compelled to take a pause to consider how truly important it is to be healthy in both body and mind. We may not notice how often we take our own well-being for granted, but as we age and become more susceptible to health risks, it gets clearer.
Now we know what it means to have a strong immune system—why a good diet and regular exercise are strong armors against disease. Now we appreciate what it means to be in good mental health—intellectually and emotionally equipped to handle unforeseen circumstances.
So, what does it take to get from neglecting your health to adopting a healthy lifestyle? Find the time to exercise and make a routine out of it. Be mindful of your emotional state and learn how to master your impulses. Let’s all begin the journey to attaining a positive perspective on life by saying YES to these resolutions for healing and well-being.
Read more: What is Pilates?
YES, I’ll exercise to protect myself from illness!
You make yourself vulnerable to illness when you stick to a sedentary daily routine. While vitamin supplements could help, exercising every day increases your immunity against disease and lessens health risk factors.
However, strengthening your immune system through exercise is not a magic bullet—you have to know when enough is enough. Studies show that a long duration of exercise may also lead to weakened immune functions.
While exercise done in moderation releases hormones and enzymes that protect the body against infections caused by intracellular microorganisms, too much could cause disruptions in our system.
High-intensity exercise in long durations could make you feel more exhausted than rejuvenated. Too much exertion may increase the concentration of anti-inflammatory hormones as the body responds to high levels of stress. In effect, it increases our susceptibility to infections!
Let’s face it, the gym isn’t for everyone. Different people have unique interests, inclinations, and physical conditions. So, if you’re looking for alternatives to the gym, Pilates Plus offers introductory classes and group promos to start you on your way to a long-term immunity-boosting regimen to suit your pace and personal capabilities.
YES, I’ll be mindful to maintain my mental health!
When we don’t exercise our body, we fail to give our brain the boost it needs to stay sharp. The most common consequences of refusing stubbornly to sweat it out are brain fog and poor memory.
Now, that’s something many of us unknowingly neglect because we rely heavily on the Internet and our devices for almost everything that needs to be remembered—schedules, grocery lists, even birthdays and anniversaries!
Nowadays, it’s become normal to panic when you realise you’ve left your phone at home or there’s zero Wi-Fi signal where you’re at. But instead of “just getting used to” these pangs of panic, we should learn to curb them.
Anxiety sets in when the body releases hormones in response to stress. With poor mental health, we’re unable to regulate the effects of stress as it wreaks havoc on the regions of the brain that control motivation, fear and mood.
This puts you at risk for memory impairment, depression, and sleep problems. Exercise can help introduce oxygen to the cells of our body, but more importantly it helps improve your memory and thinking faculties, directly or indirectly.
The added boost of oxygen to your brain, which you get out of regular exercise, gives you an edge compared to sedentary individuals. You’ll notice that your productivity increases and your mood swings become less and less over time.
At Pilates Plus, we’ll guide you toward mastering your own body and mind—to help you take on your daily tasks head-on, with vim and vigor. With each session, we can get you closer not just to your fitness goals but also to a more optimistic outlook in life.
YES, I’ll take steps to ensure that I age gracefully.
As they say, aging with composure is a sign of a life lived well. While we must all face the inevitability of growing older, how each of us handle or approach the situation depends on how healthy we are in both mind and body.
The benefits of exercise to physical health is quite plain to see, but did you know that this is also key to maintaining the bloom of youth in our appearance? And who doesn’t need a boost of confidence, whatever age or gender?
Many a maturing woman or man turn to creams, peels, facials, and the like as a way of maintaining a healthy complexion. In fact, it’s exercise (plus a good diet) that has the most regenerating effect on our cells.
Exercise promotes better skin tone and prevents it from losing elasticity as the body ages. Increased blood flow means an increase in oxygen and nutrients delivered to your cells, resulting in a more youthful appearance and radiant complexion.
One way to keep facial muscles looking youthful is to exercise it the way you work the rest of the muscles in your body. In a way, this makes for an easy and even an inexpensive way to get a regular facial.
Sweating also allows you to get rid of free radicals, which cause wrinkles and other premature signs of aging. Lack of exercise can also promote unwanted weight gain, which becomes more of a health risk as you advance in age.
There’s nothing wrong with slowing down as we get older, but it doesn’t mean we should stop moving altogether. Our posture deteriorates when we sit all the time; and our balance is compromised when we have very little physical activity. Stretching exercises such as Pilates and yoga can actually prevent and relieve back pain, too!
At Pilates Plus, our professional staff can help you stay flexible and limber, so you can avoid losing your balance, which can lead to accidents and injury, especially among senior citizens. We have experience in helping clients of all ages achieve their health goals safely, properly.
Learn more: The Pilates Plus Team
BUT FIRST, a word of caution…
Hold your horses, and don’t go off on the first exercise video you come across online! It’s important to ease into, let your body get used to the erstwhile “foreign” physical activity. Make sure you’re doing just the right number of reps and in the correct pace and intensity.
The smart first step to taking up a new exercise regimen is to learn more about your body’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses. It’s best to consult a professional, especially if you have an existing medical condition. And make sure you’re using the right gear and equipment to avoid injuries and complications.
If you’re not into gym classes, ask around for alternatives that appeal to you—that neighbor who does Pilates classes, an officemate who takes up yoga, or a friend who’s into Zumba perhaps. You’re welcome to shoot us questions, watch our videos, and read more about the benefits of Pilates on our blogs.
Now’s the time to take more responsibility for our own health.
Enrol now or enquire about our trial sessions today.
At Pilates Plus Singapore, we don’t just stop at Pilates, we enjoy life through fitness!
Reinforcing the True Essence of Pilates: The Benefits of Practicing the Traditional Joseph Pilates Program
To truly appreciate a concept, an idea, or a practice, we must first understand the why and how of it all. Likewise, in knowing the who behind it, we get the context and intent of its design and creation. The same holds true for Pilates—an approach to conditioning developed by its founder,Joseph H. Pilates.
In this article, we will provide you with a better appreciation of Pilates to help you sustain it as a mind-body fitness habit:
- How Pilates Differs from Most Physical Fitness Methods
- How to Get the Most Out of Your Pilates Sessions
- How the Traditional Pilates Principles Benefit You
Mr. Pilates started out as a gymnast and bodybuilder, then became a self-defense instructor for police trainees (among other things). Growing up, he suffered from chronic asthma and contracted rheumatic fever and rickets.
It’s no wonder why improving physical strength became both a necessity and a lifelong quest for Mr. Pilates. He believed that poor health can be attributed to bad posture, improper breathing, and a “modern lifestyle,” which characterises the sedentary, stress-riddled working professional of today.
Pilates as a fitness method emerged around a hundred years ago. Its early applications included the rehabilitation of injured soldiers toward improving range of motion and managing pain. Drawing from a background in gymnastics, body-building, and the martial arts, Mr. Pilates devised a series of exercises and training techniques now known universally as Pilates.
More than a straightforward workout, Pilates is about achieving mind-and-body harmony, freedom of movement, and a zest for life (which establishes the why of Pilates). It’s an activity not just for the athletically-inclined but, dare we say, everyone looking for a path to health, happiness, and new horizons.
How Pilates Differs from Most Physical Fitness Methods
Unlike the usual workout program that we follow at the gym, Pilates is not a collection of repetitive standalone movements. Mr. Pilates first coined the term contrology to describe his sequence of 34 exercises—each flowing to the next in purposeful succession.
In its original design, the sequential flow of exercises were done on a mat using only one’s bodyweight. It’s imperative that each exercise is executed in the exact sequence, in the designated number of repetitions (usually no more than six reps), before moving onto the next exercise.
The apparatus now used widely in the practice of Pilates—such as the Pilates reformer, Pilates chairs, barrels, tower, and Cadillac—evolved from the bed springs and contraptions that Mr. Pilates put together. Pilates himself engineered the first equipment and devised the specifications to teach his methods properly.
We at Pilates Plus appreciate the philosophy behind the creation of Pilates. Our years of training and experience have taught us that the original method produced the intended results.
We understand that, in this age where fast is the normal pace and convenience is a deciding factor, the original method has undergone changes. Some of its practitioners may have even forgotten (if they are aware at all) of Mr. Pilates’ intent and purpose for his method.
Indeed, exercise programs are meant to be adjusted and customised to the fitness level of the trainees, but the sequence should stay the same as the original in order to experience the full effect.
The idea of Mr. Pilates’ 34-sequence method is such that it progressively warms the body up, challenges it with exertion, and then cools it down. The intent to complete the sequences is as important as the exercises itself. Thus, this “conjuring of intent” becomes an internal process, which is where the mental-fitness aspect of Pilates comes in.
Classes offered at Pilates Plus adhere to the original Joseph Pilates principles to guide you toward mastering your own body and mind—as was intended. Our purpose is to help you take on your daily tasks head-on, with vim and vigor. With each session, we can get you closer not just to your fitness goals but also to a more optimistic outlook in life. We don’t just stop at Pilates, we enjoy life through fitness!
How To Get the Most Out of Your Pilates Sessions
At the gym or at home, we can be forgiven for not doing our sit-ups or leg raises uniformly as long as we can push our bodies to complete the prescribed number of repetitions. After all, one must admit that our first few attempts are often better executed than the last reps. Some of us don’t even get to those last few reps at all, which is “mostly okay.”
To get the maximum benefit of a Pilates session, however, one must perform the workout exercises in its entirety and go through the motions with as much consistency and fluidity as we can muster.
For starters, one must pay equal attention to the effort as well as the return phase of every exercise. At the effort stage, we physically and mentally prepare for the exertion, breathing in as our muscles contract. The part where we exhale, rest, and get set for the next repetition is the return phase.
Mindfulness comes into play when we execute both effort and return phases with the same amount and quality of control. By doing so, we get the maximum benefit of each movement, giving our body the support it needs to come to rest in a safe and correct way. Simply put, it’s not enough to get from prone on your back to upright, then just let gravity do its job and slump back on the mat.
Keep in mind that Pilates exercises should be executed as one whole movement from beginning to end. We should allow our muscles to move our body for the effort phase but also stabilise it at the return phase. It is this purposefulness that trains not just the body but also the mind—we get to understand and appreciate Pilates, which can go from habit to passion.
Pilates gets you moving with its high-degree of core conditioning. But at the same time, it gets you to mentally pause from the stress of everyday life. Our certified professional trainers will teach you the designated exercises and breathing techniques, so you can get the most out of every session with us.
How the Traditional Pilates Principles Benefit You
Traditional—the word itself sounds daunting enough, so we have made our programs more attainable by breaking the learning process into progressive levels.
Each session is a full body-and-mind workout that draws on abdominal strength and maximises the fullest potential of your body. The first improvements you’ll notice are:
- Increased Stamina and Strength
- Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion
- Improved Balance and Posture
While we understand the challenges involved in the execution of the sequences, we wish to preserve the spirit in which Joseph Pilates created his method because it works; because the passion that inspired us to teach it was awakened from that original spirit.
Pilates Plus’ programs have a straightforward and purposeful design. Each is a journey with a clear final destination that all students will get to reach.
The physical change may be imperceptible at first but manifests gradually as you go along. Often, it is the mind that transforms first, as the student gains a better understanding and appreciation of the real value of Mr. Pilates’ original sequence.
CALL US NOW and be on your way to a journey of strength, stamina, and self-discovery.
Pilates Plus offers introductory group rates on Strength Pilates Mat sessions, which adopt the original sequential flow of exercises. Sign up for our Foundation Package— now only $195 for 10 sessions, valid for six (6) weeks.
If you’re into intense, blood-pumping workouts that give you an adrenaline high, Pilates may not exactly be the first thing to come to mind.
Yet, that’s exactly what’s in store you for you once you step into the studio for a session of Dynamic Pilates.
You see, Dynamic Pilates differs from its traditional and comparatively more relaxed counterpart in its intensity and vigour, making it a great cardio workout as well.
In this blog, we’ll talk about how Dynamic Pilates and how it can turn you into a lean, mean, fitness machine.
Pilates at its Core—and So Much More
Dynamic Pilates is similar to classic Pilates in that it features a series of controlled and precise movements meant to re-establish your natural balance. Dynamic pinpoints the waist’s and lower back’s core muscles, which provide support for your entire body. Both Dynamic and traditional routines likewise feature a lot of stretching.
Dynamic Pilates, however, puts a lot of emphasis on improving posture and developing toned muscles in a short amount of time—hence the high level of high-powered activity. Some routines are a lot like classic Pilates combined with circuit training moves, where other muscle groups as well as the core muscles get a good workout.
Anyone who switches from classic to Dynamic is bound to notice how workouts are longer, with each exercise repeated for longer periods to achieve thorough muscle fatigue. Moving the larger muscle groups such as the glutes are also given emphasis to make sure the entire body benefits.
Dynamic Mat Pilates
Dynamic Mat combines Joseph Pilates’ traditional mat exercises with energetic movements performed at a faster pace. You could say Dynamic incorporates all Six Principles of Movement formulated by Pilates himself: Breath, Concentration, Control, Centering, Precision and Flow, making it more challenging and more fun (if you’re the upbeat type) than classic Pilates.
The real challenge lies in being able to blend each movement into a seamless, continuous whole while exercising your entire body.
Exercises during a typical Dynamic Mat class include:
- Abdominal series
- Leg circles
- Planking, front leg pulls, push-ups, stars, side bends, twists, side kicks
- Rolling like a ball, seal rolls, boomerangs and open leg rockers
- Roll overs, control balances, corkscrews, jack knifes
- Roll ups
- Single leg and shoulder bridging
- Spine twists and stretches
- Standing balances, squats and roll downs
- Swan, swimming, and rocking extensions
While Mat Pilates generally uses your own body weight, Dynamic Mat Pilates may also add the use of other exercise equipment such as flex bands, foam rollers, hand weights and mini stability balls.
Dynamic Reformer Pilates
To take your workout to the next level after the next level, Dynamic Pilates can be done on a Reformer, which is a special apparatus used for Pilates exercises. This apparatus, which looks a lot like a bed with a lot of hoops and straps, allows you to perform a greater number of exercise combinations in a full range of motion than you could with just a mat.
More importantly, a reformer makes it possible for you to work out smaller muscle groups, and makes exercises for developing lean muscle that much more effective. During workouts, you lie down on the reformer, kneel and stand on it, or squat on one end of it to exercise different muscle groups. To exercise your arms, you add free weights to your routine.
In Dynamic Pilates, reformers provide greater resistance during workouts, which means you exert more effort, and achieve results faster. And as its name suggests, Dynamic exercises are linked continuously into one, smooth flow so, you keep on moving while you’re on the apparatus. Note that there aren’t a whole lot of rest breaks in between exercises, which means you’re going to have to concentrate to keep up with the rest of your class.
Don’t let the reformer intimidate you—it’s true there’s a lot of attaching and detaching going on but your instructor will take you through each routine step by step. Classic Pilates practitioners would likely be familiar with the moves done on reformers in Dynamic.
The good news is that both Dynamic Mat and Reformer routines complement each other, which means you can do both as part of a comprehensive fitness regimen.
How Dynamic Pilates Does You Good
Dynamic Pilates’ focus on the core enhances your posture, flexibility, endurance and strength, helping you stay active and keeping you from getting injured (or making existing injuries worse). It also helps you develop lean muscle.
Dynamic Reformer Pilates, in particular also helps build muscle size and strengthens your connective tissues. In time, you’ll find you won’t be fatigued as easily while carrying out everyday tasks.
Dynamic Reformer is also great for spine alignment and stabilisation, correcting muscular imbalances in your lower back and making you look taller (and more confident). The best part is standing up straight will become a habit that carries over outside of the Pilates studio.
A typical one-hour session of Dynamic also burns 300 calories and keeps you burning even more calories for some eight to 10 hours after the workout ends, making it ideal for weight-watching fitness buffs. An increase in muscle mass resulting from Dynamic also means the ability to burn more calories, which in turns means burning up excess body fat.
Dynamic Pilates also improves your breathing, increasing your lung capacity and efficiency not just while working out but also while you’re at rest. Improved breathing also increases your energy levels overall.
Both Beginners and Buffs are Welcome
You don’t need to have any Pilates experience to enjoy the full benefits of Dynamic Pilates. If you’re new to Pilates or have had some experience at a beginner’s level, Mat classes are a great way to try Dynamic Pilates.
If you have tried Pilates before, you’ll be familiar with many of the exercises which might give you an edge in getting the hang of Dynamic routines faster.
Pilates Plus offers a wide variety of both Mat and Reformer classes in groups and private sessions. Check out our class schedule or get in touch with us to ask how you can get started on Dynamic Pilates, today.