Thinking of starting Pilates?
Starting any new form of exercise can seem daunting at first, many us worry about not knowing what to expect and not being fit or flexible enough, let alone worrying about what to wear!
What is Pilates?
Pilates was first designed by Joseph Pilates during the first world war as a form of rehabilative exercise for injured soldiers. It focuses on strengthening the core muscle groups involved in posture and improving flexibility and balance. Therefore its a great, safe form of exercise for anyone recovering from a back or neck injury, recovering after surgery or even those of us who just spend a little longer than we would like sitting behind a desk.
How hard is it?
Whilst classes start gently, mainly with exercises in lying down positions, it can be progressed by using more challenging body positions or by adding small equipment such as resistance bands or balls. Exercises can be tailored to meet all fitness levels and modified if you have any injuries. Even those that are already fit and active find benefit in Pilates by strengthening their core muscles. For example many runners report improved running efficiency and less injuries with regular Pilates. This is because our core muscles act as a powerhouse to transfer energy and force through the body - without a strong core we cannot produce as much strength through our arms or legs and we are more prone to developing injury.
The first class can be as much as a mental workout as a physical one whilst you get used to controlling your breathing whilst using new muscles in a new way. However no one expects you to be perfect straight away so don’t panic – I will make sure you’re exercising safely and at the correct level, as long as you are still breathing that’s a good enough start for the first few weeks so don’t worry if you can’t co-ordinate everything straight away!
As with learning any new skill it takes time. Remember that Pilates is non-competitive so you will work at your own level during each class. We’ll progress your exercises gradually and encourage you to challenge yourself with more advanced exercises when you’re ready.
It can take 6-8weeks to build muscle, and much longer if you’ve had pain or weakness in an area for a long time so whilst we can’t expect an overnight body transformation, you will notice the difference if you stick with it. Regular Pilates attendees report increased flexibility, reduced pain, improved balance, improved muscle tone and strength, better posture and improved confidence to exercise to name but a few benefits!
How fit do I need to be to get started?
Fitness-wise all you really need to be able to do is get on and off the floor safely, everything else can be adapted. If you’re still not sure feel free to contact me to ask if Pilates is suitable for you, or book a 1-2-1 session to get you up to speed before entering a class.
Just wear something comfortable that you are able to move freely in such as leggings or jogging bottoms. Many people like to be barefoot in the class but if you suffer from chilly toes it's worth looking into socks with a non-slip grip to prevent you sliding on you mat during the exercises.