We chat to Pilates instructor and food writer Tori Clapham about the benefits of Pilates.

“While all forms of exercise are good for our mental health, Pilates has been proven to be particularly effective at reducing the levels of our stress hormone, cortisol,” says Pilates instructor and food writer Tori Clapham.

It’s a calming form of exercise, which calls for a lot of focus. This leaves you feeling centred and more positive post exercise.” Pilates has been proven to significantly reduce stress levels, improve your memory, better the function of your nervous system, and increase your confidence, happiness and creativity. A group of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health, for example, that people have significantly superior brain function after a mindful movement practice like Pilates compared to aerobic exercise. “Another way Pilates can improve your mental health is through the advanced and efficient way it strengthens the muscles. Those who practise will notice their improvements week by week. There’s no motivation like results!” Clapham says.

While the mind gets a rigorous workout, the body is also seriously challenged. “Pilates is a fantastic way to tone up; it’s a whole-body workout – particularly focusing on the core – and is designed to not only tone, but lengthen our muscles,” Clapham says. “It is also a wonderful form of exercise to improve your posture. Pilates is about control and precision, as well as turning on and learning how to use those small muscles that often lie dormant.” Frequent Pilates practitioners often experience diminished back pain and a slimmer mid-section.

Have we convinced you to try Pilates? Check out our guide to Pilates.