What is Pilates?
Created by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s, this exercise system will help you to develop ‘core strength’, leading to increased energy levels, more flexibility, better posture, balance and muscle tone. Focusing on lengthening and strengthening the whole body, Pilates has become increasingly popular with Hollywood celebrities in recent years due to its quick and visible results, and low-impact, easy to learn routines.
Drawing together elements from martial arts and yoga, Pilates is the perfect blend of east meets west exercise, said to relieve stress and tension, calming the mind as well as the body. Minimal equipment is needed to start classes, with a mat being all that is required to take part in a Pilates class. With the New Year in full swing, many London Pilates studios are seeing an increase in the number of students signing up for classes.
Who can benefit from Pilates?
Pilates is suitable for people of all ages and all levels of fitness. Routines can be adapted to suit your specific needs if you are older or less flexible and every exercise can be customised to the individual’s requirements. It can be the perfect exercise regime for those with weak joints or poor mobility and can strengthen weak areas reducing aches and pains.
Why choose Pilates over Yoga?
Both Pilates and yoga work to calm both body and mind. Yoga focuses on breathing, with a series of postures designed to work on the whole body. Pilates focuses more precisely on specific areas of the body, with exercises tailored for each area. Many people report seeing quicker results with Pilates, as its lengthening exercises lead to a leaner, slimmer physique in just a few weeks.
How to Choose a Pilates Class or Instructor
You should always shop around when looking for the perfect Pilates class or instructor for you. In London and the rest of the UK, there are dozens of studios available to choose from. Some will focus on Pilates classes that use apparatus, others will specialise in Pilates routines on mats. There are even specific studios for older people or those with limited mobility and teachers who can offer a combination of Pilates and physiotherapy.
It’s important to choose a class close to home, as you will be more likely to stick to your exercise regime if you are not travelling miles after a long, tiring day at work to get there! Look for a teacher who fits your requirements in terms of budget and fitness level, and always visit to check out the studio before signing up for classes. Many studios will allow you to take a free taster session or offer a ‘pay as you go’ service, so it’s not necessary to sign up for months of classes in advance!
Pilates is an excellent choice of exercise regime for anybody, no matter what your age or level of fitness. It is a great way to tone your body, improve your strength, posture and flexibility and feel more energised in the New Year.