“Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself!”
An easy way to see rapid changes in your life is to start doing Pilates. Pilates can change your life. Not only will you see physical benefits, but your lifestyle and mental attitude can reap the rewards. Who knew that a discipline created to rehabilitate war prisoners would spread around the world to improve the lives of people of all ages and physical capabilities.
No matter what your age, everyone would love to turn back the clock to some degree. Actress and fitness guru Jane Fonda led the aerobics exercise craze back in the 1980s. Maintaining her incredible shape at the age of 78, she is still looked to for fitness advice. Fonda was recently asked in an interview about her fitness regime:
“I stay active, I hike, I walk, do resistance bands, pilates and yoga—you’ve gotta move,” Fonda responded. “The saying ‘move it or lose it’ is so incredibly true but more so especially when you’re older. If you don’t keep moving you go downhill really fast when you’re older. Young bodies are more forgiving, so if you’re not regular about working out, it doesn’t show up right away but it does when you’re older.
And by working out, I don’t mean doing very hard things or running marathons and things like that, we have to be more careful with our joints and bones so you do things forward and you do things that don’t have as much impact. But you’ve got to keep moving, it’s so important.”
Pilates is the perfect low-impact workout for older people, but also for those of any age. Pilates offers results with a method that’s easy on the joints, making it ideal even for rehab patients and those suffering from disease.
2) Build strength and flexibility
Celebrity Pilates trainer, Kristin McGee, tells us that the Pilates method is so important to the world of fitness “because of its focus on core strength. Our core is our foundation and we all need to learn how to lead from our center and support ourselves from our powerhouse. Then we can do anything in life and other fitness modalities.”
Regarding the use of a Pilates reformer like the Pilates Power Gym, Kristin says “I think the reformer adds extra resistance and can help strengthen and lengthen the muscles even further. It also helps as a tactile aid so people know truly where they need to be working from. The reformer also offers more and different exercises so it adds variety and keeps our muscles guessing.”
3) Weight Loss
We’ve all heard that weight loss is linked to our metabolism rate. As we age, we lose 3% of muscle per decade beginning in our 30s.
“It’s so important to continually build that lean muscle because it’s our muscle that keeps our metabolism revved,” Kristin McGee explains. “And as we age we start to lose lean muscle mass and so that’s why our metabolisms dip. That’s why you can’t eat as many calories as you get older.”
“So if you add that component of strength training and building your muscle [with Pilates], you’re going to really keep your metabolism active,” McGee continues. “You’re going to be able to eat more of those healthy, yummy foods that you love. Pilates keeps you in touch with your inside feeling so you actually start to make better [food] choices.”
Pilates has been shown to help people with various injuries and diseases rehabilitate their bodies. The low-impact and focused method of muscle strengthening with emphasis on the core can help people who are recovering from car accidents, cancer, athletic injuries and even those living with multiple sclerosis.
For example, Pilates can provide effective physical therapy for breast cancer patients who have undergone a lumpectomy or mastectomy. A mastectomy involves surgical removal of the entire breast and often removal of lymph nodes under the arms.
As a result, the surgery to remove breast cancer can leave patients with decreased mobility in their arms and back. Pilates can provide therapy to breast cancer patients through the specific exercises that help improve strength and mobility to the arms, chest and back. The mental discipline required from Pilates also provides benefits to breast cancer patients and people suffering from other conditions.
5) Mental Attitude
One important benefit of Pilates may be the one that is most underutilized. Pilates can literally be a workout not only for your body, but also for your brain.
“Concentration is often overlooked,” says Fitness Channel instructor, Kristin McGee. “I often see students just going through the movements without really being connected to the muscles they should be using. It’s so important to stay focused and concentrated. Pilates is a true mind/body movement and we need to use our focus and put our mind in our muscles when we move so we can get the most benefits.” – T.Y.
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