Pilates is a highly effective and popular and fitness, wellness, and weight loss program for people of all ages, shapes, and sizes around the world. Pilates are designed to center, strengthen, balance, tone, and sculpt your body without building excess muscle and providing overall health benefits. Pilates exercises combine healthy breathing techniques with strengthening and balance movements designed to center and strengthen your deep torso muscles.
To start Pilates exercises, you have many options including:
- private classes with a qualified instructor at your home or a Pilates studio
- duet classes with one other student and a qualified instructor at your home or a Pilates studio
- group classes at a Pilates studio or fitness gym
- numerous Pilates DVDs and books
What You Will Need
All you need to learn basic Pilates at a studio or gym is loose clothing that is not too baggy. Most studios and gyms provide Pilates mats, but you can take your own if you prefer to buy one. If you want to start Pilates at home, you will need a Pilates DVD and a Pilates mat for your workout.
As you become more advanced, you can add other Pilates equipment and accessories such as exercise balls, bands, and rings. Exercise balls are helpful for stretching and balancing exercises. Exercise bands and rings work exceptionally well with resistance and strengthening exercises. You can vary your workouts even more with Pilates trapezes, towers, arcs, and barrels. These workout accessories help improve balance, strength, and flexibility.
Pilates Machines for Beginners
Wide selections of Pilates machines, including the popular Pilates Reformer, are also effective and fun to use. Some Pilates studios and fitness clubs include Pilates machines in their classes. While Pilates machines can be a big investment for Pilates beginners, there is a good variety of affordable machines designed for home use. If you are considering buying a Pilates machine, try the different kinds of machines at fitness clubs to decide which machines are most comfortable for you before you buy.
Tips for Your Pilates Workout
As you practice Pilates, either with or without equipment, always remember to warm up before your workout and get your mind and body in harmony. As you breathe, concentrate on the engagement of your pelvic and abdominal muscles as you exhale, and maintain the same engagement as you inhale.
Throughout your Pilates workout, focus on your body’s alignment and controlled breathing for maximum well-being. Move continuously between exercises so that your exercises seem to flow into each other for increased stamina.
If your goal is to lose weight, combine Winsor Pilates®, which is a series of exercises performed in an upbeat rhythm, with the dietary guide, “Win-in-10 Meal Plan.” Winsor Pilates are a specific form of Pilates exercises developed by Mari Winsor. The Mari Winsor Pilates DVD collection will help you achieve a lean, tone, and sculpted body.
As you progress with your Pilates exercises, you will notice positive changes in how you look, feel, and move.