As a blogger, I have been open to trying a lot of new things especially when it comes to any form of fitness activity. Even though I love CrossFit, I have been intrigued by Pilates for some time now. CrossFit involves high intensity workouts and I wanted to balance it with something which will slow me down. Now, by slowing I don’t mean easy but something which will involve more of me. And a couple of Pilates sessions at Red Mat Pilates later, I realise, how much focus and concentration it involves. It basically forces me to be only in the present and, with all the chaos, this is something I crave for.
So, what is Pilates? It’s a form of exercise which concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength. Pilates concentrates on posture, balance and flexibility. In Pilates the chance of injury is much lower than with other more strenuous forms of exercise.
It can be done on a mat as well as the intimidating looking “reformer machine” but a reformer machine usually kicks in when you are a bit stronger. Even though you can do mat Pilates at home, a good instructor as per me is critical. A good instructor will not only guide you correctly but will ensure your posture and form is correct all the time. And I feel there is a certain segment which can really benefit from this form of exercise:
Beginners and inch loss – If you have been sedentary all your life and want to slowly get in to an exercise regime, this is a great option. Also, if you have been sedentary but want to take up running or pick up anything high intensity, then it will make a lot of sense. It will help you make a strong base and create better mobility, for more activities. Or for that matter if you are looking for something completely different from the regular yet targeting inch loss and toned body, then this is it for you (I would probably write about this again in a few months as I’m working towards toning my “mommy pouch”).
Rehab – Pilates exercises can be modified for each person and still be extremely effective. You can go from basic movements to very advanced, depending on how you need to progress or how badly you are injured. At Red Mat Pilates, I have seen patients recovering from knee replacement surgeries and get stronger every day. And many people with severe back ache issues completely recover.
Injured/burnt out from another activity – I know the previous category is rehab and this should be the same yet I choose to segregate it. Let’s be honest, the number of running, biking and CrossFit related injuries in India are on a rise. And Pilates is a great way to keep building your core while you can’t do other activities. It will also take care of the frustration one feels when you are unable to do much.
Mental well-being – When exercising such as in the gym or running, you are so engrossed that it takes your mind off all things that weigh you down on a day to day basis. You’ll be more focused on your breathing and on the moves that you are making with your body. It is an excellent way to relieve stress. Any form of physical activity helps cope with depression and even better is one which forces you to be in the moment.
Older people – Pilates is gentle on the joints and focuses on controlled breathing and quality of movement and not quantity of repetitions. As per Taru, Co-founder and Chief Instructor at Red Mat Pilates, “Pilates teaches control and stability in a small range of motion, graduating to a larger range of motion as they gain control and confidence. Increased control and stability is crucial for older adults as it can help them improve much of their functional movement, including balance and posture.”
Collaborative/Combining it with running and CrossFit – Having been a runner and now a Crossfitter for a while, I can very confidently say that both forms would benefit greatly if you include Pilates in your routine. Running requires good core strength especially uphill and Crossfitters can benefit from not only core strength but the functional mobility that comes along with Pilates.
In case you are in Gurgaon, you can join Red Mat Pilates. To know more, you can call Sonal at 9711572656 or drop in your details at http://www.redmatpilates.com for a call back.