Adding Pilates to my home workout routine did wonders for my sore back years ago and I’ve kept with it ever since. When my back ached from carrying kids, diaper bags, and an extra-large satchel purse around wherever I went, I stumbled across an old VHS copy of a Pilates mat exercise video one day at a big box store and thought I’d give it a try. Now, VHS tapes are long gone but there are a wide selection of DVDs on the market today, as well as websites offering online exercise videos so there is no good reason not to give it a try. And to add to that, Pilates workouts are available at most local gyms.
Below are my “Top Five” reasons I love this workout. However, there are far more reasons to do it, the most important thing to do is to try it for yourself and see if it’s a good fit for your workout program.
1. Comfortable Movements and Pace
Basic mat exercises are simple enough to do without feeling completely exhausted or in constant pain afterwards. Concentration on correct movement and breathing is required, so the repetition speed is slow to moderate. Although difficulty levels can be increased and many newer forms are high-intensity, strenuous routines — I keep mine to the basics.
2. Balances My Workout Routine
My home workout routine alternates Pilates with low-impact aerobic exercises. Since Pilates focuses on toning and strengthening individual muscles while aerobic exercises concentrate on cardiovascular benefits, the muscle groups exercised are balanced for a total body workout.
3. No Pumping Iron
Some Pilates mat and machine workouts use weights for building strength through resistance exercises with increasing intensity levels, but I’m not into bodybuilding. Although athletes love using the weights, basic core strengthening exercises enhanced with a resistance band, are enough for my needs.
4. Keeps Back and Shoulders from Hurting
Several Pilates exercises focus on back and shoulder stretches and muscle strength. While I don’t carry around as much stuff as I did when the kids were young, gardening and other hobbies could strain my back again.
5. Surprisingly Relaxing
Much like a cat stretches after awakening from a long, curled up sleep, my Pilates workout routine feels like a much-needed morning stretch does afterwards. I haven’t tried the latest “Yogalates” craze, a combination of Yoga and Pilates, but it’s easy to see why the two exercise modes mesh. Maintaining flexibility, tone, and core muscle strength through Pilates mat exercises is my all-time favorite way to stay in shape.
Find your reason to try Pilates. It may be one I mentioned below, or a completely different reason. But there is no doubt that you will fall in love with Pilates just like I did.