Category Archives for "Pilates"

Pilates and Weight Loss – A Good Match? 7 Things To Consider

Can Pilates help with weight loss? It is nearly a 100 years ago the world first heard of Pilates, although originally this practice was referred to as Contrology. It is probably not surprising that the “inventor” was named Joseph Pilates.  He first developed these series of exercises to help rehabilitating soldiers from World War 1.   As it is today, the focus was on control, stretching and breathing.  Wikipedia notes that 11 million people were practicing Pilates in 2005.

Weight loss is all the rage.  Especially in the United States where obesity has become somewhat epidemic.  This condition is not limited to adults but affects children and teenagers alike.  We know today that there are many factors that can contribute to being overweight but at the very core of weight loss it boils down to a simple equation.


So in other words, you have to eat less than you burn or burn more than you eat; however you want to look at it!  But remember the opposite is true, if your consuming more than you are burning then you are gaining.

A general guideline for calorie intake is about 2000 calories per day for men and 1800 a day for women.  But the reality is that the correct caloric intake for any individual will vary based on a number of factors like age, sex and activity level.

There are many caloric calculators online, its probably a good idea to find one from a reputable source and use that to determine your needs.  Knowing how much you should be consuming can help you avoid high calorie foods.

Pilates and weight loss can make a good combination, depending on your weight loss goals.  If you just want to lose pounds and don’t care about anything else, Pilates may not be a good option.  But frankly, if you want to lose weight, you are likely to be concerned with being in better shape and Pilates can help you with that.

  1. Pilates can be a good addition to a weight loss routine.  Because Pilates help to develop long lean muscles.  By developing your muscles, your weight loss may be more apparent because of the toning and sculpting effect the exercise can have on you.
  2. Pilates do not burn as many calories as other types of exercises, such as bicycling or swimming.  Given this, you should consider your objectives.  Is your goal to simply lose weight or do you want to get in shape too?
  3. It help to create lean muscle.  Lean muscle takes up less room than fat, as a result you may start to look slimmer sooner.
  4. It can be combined with other exercises to round out the calories burning.
  5. Because Pilates involves controlled breathing, it can help reduce stress.
  6. Properly practiced, Pilates can build the torso or core muscles as well as increase flexibility.  A more flexible body is less likely to be injured.
  7. An hour of Pilates can burn more than 200 calories per hour.

So for most people I think Pilates can be a real help. Isn’t that what we all want when it comes to weight loss, a little help? Every little piece of ammunition we can add to our plan is a help. So I recommend Pilates for weight loss as part of a bigger plan.

The True Benefits of Classic Pilates

Classic Pilates is a form of physical fitness that has had a resurgence over the past decade. Joseph Pilates of Germany originally developed Pilates in the early 20th century. Described as ‘contrology’, it is similar to corrective exercise or medical gymnastics where the mind controls muscle movement.

Pilates is a great form of exercise for a wide range of people. That is why it has quickly become one of the most popular exercise programs in the country.

The foundation of Pilates is based on core strength. Every movement originates from the core and progresses out through the extremities. The core is made up of deep internal muscles of the abdomen and back. Due to the American diet and lifestyle, most people don’t have strong core muscles, which can be one cause of low back pain.

When the core muscles are strong, they support the spine and are able to control superficial muscles to assist in movement. The objective of Pilates is to develop core strength, flexibility and awareness in order to support efficient and graceful movement in everyday life.

Pilates makes people stronger, longer, leaner and increases the ability to function. Every  exercise stretches, strengthens and relaxes the body to enhance natural alignment.

Joseph developed classic Pilates using a wide range of apparatuses to guide and train the body. The original philosophy seeks to develop controlled movements that start from the core. This increases strength, flexibility and control of the body.

By providing equipment throughout each exercise, additional resistance builds strength. Traditional apparatus includes the

  • Reformer
  • Cadillac
  • high chair
  • Wunda chair
  • baby chair
  • ladder barrel
  • spine corrector
  • small barrel.

Authentic Pilates encompasses six principles, which are maintained within modern day Pilates as well. These six principles describe how it should be completed and why it should be done to these standards. The six principles are

  1. concentration
  2. control
  3. center
  4. flow
  5. precision
  6. breathing

Classic Pilates demands an intense focus throughout each exercise. The way an exercise is done is more important than the exercise itself. Developing muscle control, improves strength and the minds ability to control body movement.

The Core Is Center In Classic Pilates

The core is the center of the body. Every movement should originate from the core and flow outward to the limbs. As you develop body control each movement should flow with appropriate transition. Precision allows the exercises to flow into each other.

It is more important in traditional Pilates to execute one precise and perfect movement than to do 20 sloppy incorrect movements. Improper movements don’t benefit the body and lose their value. By concentrating on precision of movements, they will become second nature, which will carry over into everyday activities.

Much like yoga, classic Pilates requires a focus on breathing. Breathing increases circulation, which expels toxins and increases the intake of oxygen. Deep breathing is cleansing and invigorating. It requires a full inhalation and a complete exhalation. It is referred to as posterior lateral breathing, to expand the rib cage and engage core muscles without changing or impeding movement.

The Pilates principles define how each exercise is more about quality rather than quantity. In contemporary Pilates all exercises have modifications to adapt for all levels of fitness to maintain safety or increase challenge. Although modern Pilates breaks from tradition; classic Pilates does the same exercise in the same order and contemporary Pilates breaks it down into parts and exercises may vary depending upon the day, instructor or clients.

Modern Pilates also has added additional equipment such as small weighted balls, foam rollers, large exercise balls, rotating disks, and resistance bands. These are more modern exercise equipment, which provide the same type of resistance training that the classic Pilates apparatus provided.

With all of that, contemporary Pilates still holds the basic values and principles as classic Pilates. Whichever style you choose, you will still benefit from developing strength, flexibility, body awareness and muscle control.

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