If you are asking this question, chances are you have never tried Pilates. The answer to this question might surprise you, because there are several things to look at before you can answer the question. Firstly, what do you consider a good workout is? Is it a workout that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat? Maybe it is one that fatigues your muscles? Improves your flexibility? Or maybe a workout that strengthens your all-important core muscles. Some may consider it to be a workout that challenges your entire body. Possibly, a workout that gets you to focus and makes you think? Challenges your physical abilities? Improves your balance? Improves your coordination? Does a good workout for you help reduce stress, improve your sleep, and help your sense of wellbeing and happiness? Do your workouts improve your posture, reduce your aches and pains, and your risk of injury? Are your workouts helping you get stronger, fitter, and enhancing your health? You might be surprised to know that Pilates works on ALL the qualities that have been listed above.
Not every Pilates workout will make you break a sweat. There may be workouts that require you to focus more with your mind and are more mentally taxing than physical. There can also be a huge difference in the intensity levels of Pilates workouts. Pilates workouts can be flexible allowing them to be adapted to help you work on what is good for YOUR body? It really depends on what you need to work on to improve and enhance your health? So, if you want to know what the best Pilates exercises are, then it depends on your own personal health, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your muscle imbalances. Pilates workouts are made up of a number of different exercises that used together can work on all your problem areas.
Every exercise, regardless of whether you’re working out in the gym, lifting weights, doing Yoga, CrossFit, swimming or Pilates … there is always an element of brain-body connection. If you’re working the body, your brain should be engaged too! But, a lot of people want to tune-out instead of tune-in to what they’re doing while they’re moving. A lack of concentration when working out can be dangerous. If you’re not paying attention, there is an increased chance that you will injure yourself.
So back to the main question, what is a good workout? With Pilates the exercises will always challenge you. Even when you progress to an intermediate class, the basics can still be challenging and will still give you a good workout. With Pilates “more” does not always mean better. But rather “better technique” will give you more benefits from your Pilates workouts. As you become more familiar with the exercises and can do them better, your pace and the flow of the exercises will pick up. Increase the pace and you’ll either complete your Pilates workout quicker, or you will have extra time to add in a few more exercises.
Joseph Pilates the founder of Pilates believed that you could achieve a well-rounded, full body workout with the Pilates system in 60 minutes or less. That would be on the mat, and perhaps with a few additional exercises your body needs either with resistance bands, pilates rings or other equipment that can be used to work different muscles. While Pilates is not considered a form of “aerobic” exercise, if you’re working at a steady pace, it is highly likely that you will increase your heart rate. But Pilates isn’t just about cardio, it is about uniformly developing the whole-body in a well-balanced manner to improve your strength, flexibility, posture, breathing, and body control – mind, body, and spirit feels better after a Pilates workout.
So, is Pilates a good workout? Pilates is for every BODY. But not every exercise is for everybody. Whether you’re young or old, healthy or injured, athletic, or have never played a sport in your life. If you want a good workout, that will improve your whole-body health, sign up for one of my Pilates classes, your body will thank you for it.
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