#AtPlay: The Surprising Real Benefits To Pilates

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only around 20 percent of the adults in this country meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and strengthening activity. The key to meeting this requirement, many agree, is for people to find something they enjoy doing. When they can find an activity that they not only enjoy, but that they get health benefits from, too, it’s a win-win situation all the way around. Today, many people are finding that Pilates is the type of activity that keeps them active and healthier.

“Many people are not familiar with Pilates, but once they get started and see what a difference it can make in their health and well being they become hooked,” explains Maria Sison-Wright, a physical therapist, and Pilates and Melt Method instructor as well as the owner of Inner Core Wellness, located in Vienna, Virginia. “It’s all a matter of giving it a try so that you can see just how great it can be.”

Pilates is a fitness program that was first created by Joseph Pilates, a physical trainer, who came to America in the 1920s. He brought with him his fitness program and offered it at his studio until the 1960s. Today, it’s become a popular activity that works the entire body through a series of controlled movements. It engages both the body and mind, using over 500 exercises.

As people become more aware of Pilates, they are also learning more about the health benefits. Here are the top health benefits of Pilates:

  • Reduce pain. There have been several studies conducted that point to the fact that doing Pilates helps bring pain relief. In a recent issue of the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, researchers evaluated results from prior studies involving Pilates and pain and concluded that there was pain relief and functional improvement attributed to participants doing Pilates.
  • Improve flexibility. In a study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, researchers reported that an 8-week program using Pilates had a beneficial effect on flexibility, balance, and abdominal muscle endurance.  Those who want a strong core will find that Pilates helps them achieve their goals.
  • Reduces stress. Pilates is a program that involves both the mind and body and is calming, helping many people to reduce stress. People find that it helps with improving mental concentration and enhancing body awareness. It’s a great way for people to relax after a busy work day and provides some quality down time.
  • Improve posture. Pilates helps to improve posture, as well as increase circulation and endurance. It is also beneficial for toning and building lean muscles.

“Pilates is challenging, it’s rewarding, and it’s open to anyone who wants to give it a try,” added Sison-Wright.  “To quote Joseph Pilates, ‘Change happens through movement, and movement heals.’ Those who are looking for a great program that they will enjoy and will bring them a range of benefits should give it a try. They will be surprised at how engaging and rewarding Pilates is.”

 What makes Pilates unique is that it works the entire body with the concept of integrated stretching, strengthening and control. Pilates creates length with stability, as opposed to compression with stability. Therefore, it applies less stress to the joints and spine. You not only improve your core strength, you also improve your flexibility and have an increase in body awareness as well. You can apply the principles of what you learned in Pilates to your daily activities whether at work, sports or at the gym.

Inner Core Wellness is a Romana’s Pilates Studio, offering Pilates classes, with most people taking at least two classes per week. It is recommended that people do it 2-3 times per week consistently to achieve the benefits.

In addition to Pilates, Inner Core Wellness offers physical therapy, the Melt Method, events, and workshops. To learn more, visit their site at: http://www.innercorewellness.com.

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