I never realized how pilates can change your body. Then, ten years ago, I took up pilates and never looked back. I bought a simple $10 DVD at Wal-Mart and was forever hooked on the benefits the exercise can bring. Pilates is one of the hottest types of exercises among celebs and the everyday woman. It can be a great way to challenge your body, as well being a different alternative to harsher training methods such as weight training. Though I love weight training, having gentler exercises to do, such as pilates and yoga, can be a great way to vary your workouts. If you haven’t already tried this popular exercise touted by everyone from Madonna to Miley Cyrus, then find out how pilates can change your body in more ways than you could imagine!
1. It Leans You out
One of the best things to know about how pilates can change your body is how it leans you out and doesn’t bulk you up. The exercises don’t actually feel like you’re doing much, but trust me, you are! Pilates helps to lengthen your body and tone tiny muscles in your body that help lean you out, and it lessens the bulk other methods bring. You also aren't only targeting single muscles used in conventional forms of weight training, which creates less targeted stress or over-training of single muscle groups.
2. It Lengthens You
While I’m still 5’5” tall and not growing any taller, pilates truly can lengthen your muscles and make you feel and even look taller. It all has to do with how it changes your posture through your core muscles. Pilates helps to create that long, lean look many of us wish we had. I thought this was all hype until I experienced it for myself. Even beginner forms of pilates that don’t use machines, which I don’t use, still greatly lengthen your muscles, making them more flexible and look leaner.
3. It Can Mellow You out
One of the best ways pilates can change your body is how it affects your mind, and ultimately changes your body as a result. Pilates is a very gentle exercise and the specific movements help to relax you and offer some of the same mind benefits as yoga. This changes your body by reducing stress dramatically, which lowers cortisol in your body and that means less belly fat is stored in your midsection. When we’re stressed, the hormone cortisol shoots through our body and tells the body to store fat, specifically in the abdomen. High intensity exercises can be a great way to lose weight, but these exercises, like running, actually increase cortisol in the body, while pilates decreases cortisol in the body. This means less cortisol is released in your body, and ultimately, less belly fat.
4. It Tightens Your Core
Pilates focuses on using the core for most of the work. This doesn’t mean you’ll develop an overly muscular stomach, but instead, it will give you better posture, killer abs and help your entire body change shape. It also strengthens your back, which is important in preventing injury.
5. It Helps Repair Muscles
Pilates is possibly one of the gentlest forms of exercise you can do that still brings results. Pilates helps repair muscles through the gentle, fluid movements it provides. Instead of taking a day off your exercise regimen and not doing anything, try 20 minutes of beginner pilates exercises on the floor instead. You’ll still get some toning benefits in, as well as keep your muscles active through gentle, fluid movements. This helps to reduce inflammation and stress to the muscles, as well as prevent cramps.
6. It Reduces Inflammation
Speaking of inflammation, pilates is a great way to enhance your lymph system’s function. Lymph is the fluid stored in your body that helps to move wastes out, and when it isn’t released properly, it can create inflammation and toxic buildup. Gentle movements like pilates, as well as detox therapies such as dry skin brushing, help to increase lymph movement and move wastes out of the body more efficiently. This helps reduce inflammation and pain, along with aid detox.
7. It Helps You Look Feminine
My favorite benefit of pilates is that it keeps my muscles tight, toned, long, lean and still incredibly feminine looking. I don’t want bulky legs or stocky arms, and though I admire women who can lift more pounds than me at the gym, I like having a feminine body. Pilates can do this for you and much more!
To this day, my favorite pilates DVD is still the very first $10 one I started out with. If you’re interested in what DVD I started out watching, you can find a link below in the sources. Have you ever tried pilates?