The benefits

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Pilates comes with a huge range of physical and mental benefits. The range of movements stretches and strengthens all the major muscle groups without over-exertion, and the low repetitions will soon have you seeing an improvement in muscle tone.

Pilates is great for just about everyone, so don’t be put off if you aren’t flexible.

“Pilates requires no degree of flexibility or fitness, as a good instructor will be able to teach beginners through to advanced in the one class by modifying moves individually, rather than just teaching at the front of the class,” Menezes says.

Pilates will strengthen your core, align your spine and improve posture without the risk that comes with many high impact forms of exercise, making it an ideal choice for just about everyone.

“People with back pain may benefit more than others because they have something to gain, but people of all ages will benefit from Pilates. I have students ranging from ages nine to 74 in my classes,” Menezes says.

In fact, many elite sportspeople are turning to Pilates for the therapeutic benefits it has on their bodies. Even AFL players are seeing improvements in their injuries after turning to Pilates.

Your path to Pilates

Due to its effectiveness and popularity, Pilates classes are available in abundance across Australia, but Menezes recommends doing your homework first.

“You need to find an instructor that is entirely committed to Pilates. It’s important to find out their qualifications and look for someone who has trained with a well-known Pilates organisation that’s been around for at least 10-15 years,” he says.

If the idea of trying Pilates in a room full of people doesn’t appeal to you, there is an endless supply of instructional DVDs to choose from, allowing you to participate in a total body workout in the privacy of your home, at whatever time suits you.

While most Pilates exercises are done on a mat similar to those in yoga, as the exercise has evolved so too have the different methods of Pilates.

For those of you wanting to get up off the floor, Studio Pilates uses equipment such as the Reformer, which uses a sliding platform on a system of pulleys and springs to increase the resistance of your Pilates workout.

“Studio Pilates is better for beginners as it involves more one-one-one time with instructors as well as giving you more resistance,” Menezes says.

Weighted balls, toning rings and resistance bands are also examples of Pilates equipment that can be used to amp up the intensity of your workout.

So if you’ve been searching for a form of exercise that doesn’t involve jarring movements and heavy impact on your joints, it may be time to try Pilates. Become stronger, longer and leaner, reconnect with your body and recharge your mind. Look online for a list of studios near you!

 

Image of Cherida Forde & workout by KX Group founder Aaron Smith.

 

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