We’ve all had time to reflect on the importance of being physically and mentally healthy. Counting the days until the lockdown ends, we’ve resolved to take better care of ourselves. But let’s face it, it’s hard to commit to a fitness program when there’s no tangible result, right?
If you’re looking for a workout not just for the body but also the mind, then Pilates mat exercises are a good start. Aside from whipping you up into shape, Pilates teaches centering, concentration, and control—but how does knowing all that help you IRL? Read on to find out!
Mat Pilates is perfect for beginners because the reps can be adjusted to your physical capability. Plus, you’ll only need a mat, some floor space, and everyday items you can use as exercise aids.
It involves floor workouts that build body strength and activate the brain’s stress-busting functions. With Pilates’ emphasis on the body/mind connection, it’s easier to grasp how toning, flexibility, coordination, and focus come together to make life easier…and just happier!
So, let’s cut to the chase and tell you exactly how Pilates mat exercises can make you look great simply because you feel so good!
1. Burns Fat and Calories
Flabby abs, chubby arms and legs, bulky hips and backsides…these are why most of us are driven to exercise. Luckily for us, Pilates mat exercises target the body’s powerhouse—abdominal and lower back muscles, glutes, hips, and pelvic floor.
While strengthening the body’s core is the goal of Pilates mat exercises, you’ll most likely burn off calories and shed excess pounds in the process. But if you want to lose weight fast, then you might want to take up running, swimming, and other cardio workouts on top of Pilates.
Traditional Pilates was designed as a low-impact workout meant to build up strength gradually. Although, research shows it’s also effective in lowering BMI and calorie count, and results in a slimmer waist, flatter abs, and leaner hips too.
Picture this: if you weigh about 150lbs and you’re doing beginner Pilates mat classes for 50 minutes, then you’ll shed about 175 calories. Our muscles continue burning off calories even after working out so, the longer you’re at it, the stronger and shapelier you get.
2. Makes You Look Taller
We wear heels and elevator shoes to look taller because…why not? Doesn’t hurt to add a few centimeters to your height, right? In fact, Miss World 2003 Rosanna Davison credits Pilates for making her half-an-inch taller.
Well, Pilates can’t make you grow actually but, with all that stretching, your spine becomes more aligned, back muscles are elongated, and the cushioning between the vertebrae gets more room to breathe.
Pilates may not be able to lengthen your bones but it will correct your posture with consistent practice. These days it’s normal to spend long hours sitting at our desks or hunched over phones and tablets, which ruin our posture and make us look shorter.
As you move from beginner to master class, you’ll notice that you’re standing straighter and looking leaner. And with no help from stilettos or height-adding insoles, too!
3. Gets Rid of Stiffness
Getting up from bed, bending to put on shoes, reaching for stuff, walking…just about everything we do requires flexibility. Like breathing, you don’t think of doing it, it just happens!
Then as you’re getting more of the occasional crick in the neck, backache, or stiffness in the joints, that’s when it hits home: flexibility is crucial to living a normal life. We can’t move well if we’re not flexible, and we can’t live normally if we can’t move.
That’s how Joseph saw it when he created Pilates to help injured soldiers. Pilates guides the body to move with ease and grace. It’s meant to get us to a state of balance and natural flow.
Sadly, our body’s flexibility decreases as we get older and everyday stuff like bending, stretching, or reaching won’t feel as effortless. You can prevent this with Pilates mat exercises, and making stretching part of your daily routine.
4. Helps Strengthen Immunity
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the coronavirus outbreak, it’s that a strong immune system could spell the difference between life and death. We know now that the virus attacks the lungs, that’s why it’s so important to keep them healthy and resilient.
Aside from not smoking and not exposing yourself to pollution, there are other things you can do to make your lungs stronger, like Pilates. But how?
First, the exercises correct posture, so the diaphragm can contract and relax the way it should. Second, Pilates teaches breathing techniques that get oxygen circulating, so our body can function better and heal faster.
Remember, the diaphragm is a muscle, and it’s just as important to work it out like you would your biceps. We’re not supposed to take shallow breaths, we just get used to it, which means our lungs aren’t operating at 100%.
Pilates teaches us to breathe properly and, in the process, become more aware of how our body works, and more responsive to the health alerts it’s sending.
5. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
We get the most tension in the neck, shoulders, chest, and hips. When we’re stressed, this tension goes from discomfort to pain, which makes us even more stressed. To break the cycle, we should learn to move and think properly—and that’s the Pilates philosophy.
At mat class, you’re taught how to tune in to your body and react positively to your thoughts. Pilates trains you to concentrate on what’s happening in the moment rather than what could go wrong. And that’s what mindfulness is all about.
Think about it: you’re less likely to get sick if you’re doing strength-building Pilates mat exercises regularly. The more you train, the better you get at your daily tasks.
And as Pilates gets to be a regular practice, mind-body balance will come naturally to you—and that’s crucial in living life to the fullest.
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The long hours behind your desk are causing backaches, and it’s affecting your productivity. You’re in constant discomfort, which sometimes leads to stress and anxiety. If you’ve caught yourself nodding, then your habits and routines must be taking their toll.
And now you’re ready to take that first step toward a healthy work-life balance but aren’t sure where to start. You’ve thought about hitting the gym or taking up a sport. But you feel these activities just aren’t for you, and you’re worried that you might not be able to sustain the habit.
So, what else is there? To go from sedentary to master of your own mind and body, Pilates teaches you how to:
Manage your body, and mobilise your energy.
Overcome your limitations, and optimise your productivity.
Validate your needs, and visualise your joy.
Explore a new experience, and enrich your life.
Why Take Classes at Pilates Plus Singapore
What Pilates Can Do For You
Pilates is a versatile fitness program that appeals to beginners and seasoned fitness buffs alike. 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. Its benefits include:
· Enhanced core strength
· Improved posture
· Better balance
· More flexibility
· Increased muscle tone
· Healthier joints/ligaments
· Aids in weight loss
· Added stamina/energy
· Optimised breathing
· Body-mind harmony
Learn more: The History of Pilates
Various Types of Pilates
Pilates is an approach to conditioning developed over a hundred years ago by its founder Joseph H. Pilates, who first called it “contrology.” Pilates has undergone transitions over the years but maintains its core principles of breathing, control, centering, and flow. Here are some common types of Pilates to help you find one that works best for you:
Mr. Pilates first coined the term contrology to describe his sequence of 34 exercises—each flowing to the next in purposeful succession. Each exercise is executed in the exact sequence, in the designated number of repetitions (usually no more than six reps), before moving on to the next exercise. This type of Pilates may also involve the use of equipment.
Pilates Mat Exercises
Mat exercises are a good introduction to the world of Pilates. These are low-impact exercises that may involve the use of weights, balls, therabands, or rings. However, the movements are still based on the traditional Pilates system. First-timers and people suffering from back pain will benefit most from mat exercises because it focuses on strengthening the core.
This type of Pilates utilises an equipment called the Reformer, which looks like a bed frame with tension apparatus attached to it. The movements here are similar to mat Pilates but more challenging, given the added resistance from the various springs, straps, and ropes. As such, you burn more calories and build up more muscle strength.
As the name implies, this is a modern take on the classical system of Pilates. The exercises here are founded on contemporary research, including modern approaches to motor learning, rehabilitation, and biomechanics training. The movements are taught differently, depending on the instructor.
Stott Pilates was created in 1998 by Moira Stott-Merrithew, a former dancer. The exercises have sequences and movements that differ from the classical version. In traditional Pilates, the spine is pressed to the floor but in Stott’s version, the lower back is kept off the floor, maintaining the natural curvature.
Read more: The Traditional Joseph Pilates Program
Myths About Pilates
If you’re new to Pilates, chances are you’ve read a few misconceptions about it. So, let’s clear the air and give you the facts straight out to help you make an informed decision before signing up for a class. Here are some of the myths that could be holding you back:
Pilates is Just Another Form of Yoga
Pilates and yoga both work on building body strength, alignment, and flexibility but they are not one and the same thing. Though some poses look similar to yoga, Pilates uses different movement and breathing techniques that achieve different results. More importantly, yoga is limited to mat exercises while Pilates makes use of both mat and specialised equipment.
Pilates is Only for Fit and Young People
People of all ages and levels of stamina can benefit from Pilates—even if you think you’re not athletic! People who aren’t interested in the usual gym exercises may find Pilates more engaging since classes are offered in varying degrees of physical capacity. It’s designed in such a way that you can go from newbie to advanced practitioner with regular practice.
Pilates is For Women Only
Most men do gym workouts and weights to build up their core and develop their muscles, which is exactly what Pilates is all about. Men and women alike use Pilates as cross training for all kinds of sporting activities, even extreme sports. In fact, founder Joseph Pilates originally designed this fitness regimen to rehabilitate soldiers who were injured in the war. [Read more: Why Pilates is a Good Workout for Men
Pilates is Just Another Weight-Loss Program
Yes, the exercises help keep the weight off and stabilise your metabolism but Pilates does more than that. Aside from being a workout, Pilates is about achieving mind-and-body harmony, freedom of movement, and a zest for life. Complemented with dietary and mental health guidance, Pilates can be a path to health, happiness, and new horizons.
Pilates Classes Are Too Expensive
Imagine signing up for gym membership and finding that the fees don’t include personal training services. So, you’re left to your own devices, figuring out for yourself what exercises to do and how to use the equipment…that’s money down the drain. With Pilates, an instructor is always on hand to guide, motivate, and advise you. Now that’s added value!
Promos, rates, and schedules that suit your best
At Pilates Plus Singapore, it’s not just a matter of taking classes, it’s about embarking on a journey to health and joyfulness, with our certified trainers as your guide. For us, Pilates is not just a profession but a passion. We’ve made our rates cost-efficient and relatively affordable because we want everyone to have the same life-changing experience that we do with Pilates.
With more than 10 years of experience, we can help you understand how your body works, why your movements affect your mindset, and what exactly Pilates can do to perform daily tasks with renewed energy and positivity. So, sign up now for your TRIAL SESSIONS to test the waters. We’d love to hear from you today!
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!