If you have never participated in a Pilates class, the workout might seem a little intimidating. If you ask Cooper Fitness Center Pilates Instructor Sarah Paxton, she loves Pilates because it is unique, effective and anyone can do it.
The benefits of Pilates are unlike anything you can get from any other workout. When doing Pilates, you are not only getting stronger and fitter, you are also practicing corrective movement. The movements and exercises in Pilates train your body how to move without injury which can be beneficial in any exercise or everyday activity.
“You work from the inside out. A lot of people call it ‘the inner unit,’” Paxton said. “You’re working all the tiny muscles that hold your bones together – the muscles that people don’t really talk about.”
While most people are capable of performing Pilates, it requires a small learning curve considering the uniqueness of the workout. Students typically start on the most common piece of Pilates equipment, the reformer. It is a raised platform with an adjustable bar, springs to create resistance for various exercises and a mat to support the back, neck and knees.
At first glance, the equipment can appear complicated and hard to use. However, the “bells and whistles” are there to provide support. With the assistance provided by the equipment, it is almost impossible to perform Pilates incorrectly, which significantly reduces the risk of injury during your workout.
With an internal focus on strength and balance, many people find themselves using muscles they have never used before. The transverse abdominal muscles are the deepest layer of your abdominals, making them very difficult to activate with any other form of exercise. However, Pilates is designed to work these muscles to strengthen even the deepest part of your core.
“[With Pilates,] I feel like everything I do is more effective,” Paxton said. “Whether it’s walking or doing some pull-ups, I feel like my muscles and joints are safer. You can take the benefits of Pilates to all of your classes. That’s the beauty of it.”
Pilates is beneficial to all fitness levels. The exercises can be easily modified to accommodate your needs. It is also ideal for people with certain injuries or disabilities.
“My oldest client right now is 86, but I have trained a 90-year-old,” Paxton said. “Pilates equipment is conducive to people who have had injuries or maybe are missing a limb or are paralyzed. We have a client who is in a wheelchair. I have several clients who have Parkinson’s. The beauty of Pilates is there is no limit of your ability or age or size or limitations.”
If you are interested in giving Pilates a try, there is no better time than now. The benefits you gain from it are worth stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. For information about Cooper Fitness Center’s Pilates program, click here or call 972.233.4832. At Cooper Fitness Center, new members receive one complimentary private Pilates session to get acclimated to the equipment and movements.