If you're unaware of what Pilates is then let's give you a swift introduction. It was developed by a guy called Joseph Pilates towards the start of the 20th Century, with the aim of bringing mental and physical well-being together into one form of exercise. Joseph believed that mental health and physical health were inextricably linked, and he wanted a practice that utilised and trained both areas. His answer was Pilates, a fitness that is enjoyed by over 10 million people in the USA alone and millions of others worldwide.
So, what exactly is it?
Pilates is a type of exercise regime aimed at optimising physical and mental performance. Key areas of focus are strengthening the core and the torso, aligning the spine and correcting muscle imbalances. It also focuses on breathing and concentration exercises to work on mental well-being as well as physical well-being. Read on for five of its benefits:
One of the most significant benefits is on your posture. Good posture is critical to both good physical and mental health. Poor posture can lead to poor concentration, back and neck pain, spinal injuries, and decreased mental performance. Improving posture reverses all of these negative effects.
Improved muscle tone
Muscle tone is important for physical performance. You don't have to be ripped, but a good tone is indication of minimal body fat levels and good health. It is also good for the mental side of physical activity. If you look good then you have a much better chance of feeling good too.
Improved mental concentration
It's not hard to say what benefits improved mental focus can achieve. You'll be sharper, wittier, be able to pay attention easier, be better at decision making, have better judgement overall, and have increased focus. The list goes on...
Breathing is often a subconscious process. However, it is vital to our functioning as human beings. Breathing gets oxygen into our lungs and our brains use about 20-30% of all the oxygen entering our body. Therefore, if we train ourselves to adapt to better breathing techniques then we're also increasing our chances of better physical and mental performance.
Exercise in general is a proven stress reducer. Nonetheless, Pilates' novel incorporation of mental as well as physical exercises accentuates the stress reducing benefits. By focusing the attention on these two individual aspects of overall health you'll be in the best possible position of reducing your stress. In our busy modern lives stress is a key factor in illness, disease, and even death. So if you can reduce stress you can improve your health... simple as that.