March 16, 2020 4 min read
At-Home Pilates for Beginners - Increase Your Flexibility
Looking to get a strong, lean body without spending countless hours doing exercises in the gym? A toned body doesn’t always have to come from lifting weights. You can just as easily get a great full-body strength workout at home with just your yoga mat and a Pilates routine. Pilates not only tightens and tones your muscles, but it also strengthens your body and increases your core flexibility. It involves workouts comprised of precise moves and specific breathing techniques.
Sara is wearing the Ultimate Sports Bra for support during her workout!
So What is Pilates Exactly?
Pilates is a form of exercise that uses controlled movements designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture. The movements focus primarily on your core to condition your body and build stronger, more sculpted muscles without any excess bulk. The result is a sleek, toned body. Pilates can also help to improve your posture from the ab and back strength you’ll gain through the controlled movements.
There are two different forms of Pilates – one is mat based while the other uses large pieces of equipment generally found only in Pilates studios. The mat-based form of Pilates is the most popular (and the one we will be focusing on for this post) and can easily be done at home. All you need is an exercise mat and a routine to follow as shown below by our Shefit Founder Sara Marie Moylan.
What are the benefits of Pilates?
1. Pilates Is for Everyone!
Pilates can be done by any one – man, woman, young or old. No matter your age or physical ability, you can do Pilates. There are thousands of possible exercises and modifications, so it can be adapted to fit an individual’s needs – from the absolute beginner to the seasoned athlete.
2. Pilates Works Your Core
One of the key components of Pilates is the emphasis on core strength. The core is the “powerhouse” of the body – Pilates strengthens and conditions the core while simultaneously working your arms and legs. The exercises focus on movements and positions that not only activate your core but also rely on your extremities (arms and legs) for control.
3. Pilates Is Good for Your Posture
One of the main components of Pilates is the connection between mind and body and the overall awareness of how your body moves. As a result, you become more aware of the placement of your spine and pelvis, especially during your Pilates routine.4. Pilates Increases Energy
5. Pilates Improves the Mind/Body Connection
Pilates workouts are designed to improve your balance and coordination by teaching a stronger connection between the mind and the body. Pilates movements are done with control and focus to help you become more aware of your alignment.
6. Pilates Improves Balance and Co-ordination
Because of its strong focus on the core, Pilates helps boost your overall balance by stabilizing your core. The movements of Pilates work the small, deep muscles in your core that also improve your coordination
Is there cardio in Pilates?
Pilates exercises focus more on the overall tone and strength of your muscles so it won’t help you work up a sweat or improve your overall cardiovascular health. While Pilates is a demanding workout, focusing on concentration and breathing, you’ll also need to add in a cardio component to your fitness routine. Try at least 1-2 cardio sessions a week in addition to your Pilates practice.
Is there a difference between Pilates and Yoga?
In short, yes. While there are quite a few similarities between the two, Pilates focuses more on the physical whereas yoga focuses more on the spiritual. Pilates will help you tone, strengthen and stabilize your muscles, especially the core.Yoga allows you to achieve and maintain balance between your mind, body and spirit.
So if a lean, toned body without any excess bulk is what you’re after, then Pilates is the workout for you. Pair your Pilates routine with weekly sessions ofcardio workouts and you’ll find yourself with the lean, toned, strong body you’re after – and with great abs to boot! So grab your mat and try these eight Pilates exercises as part of your at-home full body workout routine – you won’t regret it!
Even though Pilates is considered more of a low-impact workout, you’ll still need a good sports bra to make sure there’s no cleavage spilling out when you stretch and bend. For optimum support, tryShefit's Ultimate Sports Bra. With its custom, adjustable fit, you’ll not only get the support you need but also the comfort and shape you desire. It’ll allow you to focus on your movements and get the most out of your Pilates session!