by Craig Blake
Over 40 years after the death of Joseph Pilates, his namesake fitness creation, Pilates, has never been more popular. Pilates teaches mental control over the body, which results in a full-body workout. Instead of just a bundle of exercises designed to bulk up the muscles, Pilates aims to reclaim control over the muscles and increase general health. Those who practice Pilates exercise are well versed in its physical and mental benefits. Whether you are considering starting with some Pilates DVDs or signing up for a Pilates studio, your body will thank you; however, if you aren't quite convinced, here are just some of the benefits Pilates can bring into your life.
A strong core: Very few exercises can strengthen your core as well as Pilates. The stability and body-control focus of a Pilates workout forces people to employ motions that tone and define abdominal muscles. Strong, defined abs aren't just good for the pool; they also help support a healthy lower back.
Body awareness: The practice of Pilates is designed to connect your mind with your body. As you get more advanced, this will make you more aware of your body when you aren't engaged in a Pilates workout. Pilates helps improve the posture, which helps reduce common aches and pains.
Muscle definition: Unlike many other workouts, Pilates isn't meant to build bulky muscles. Instead of just focusing on the same muscles and making them larger, Pilates workouts focus on exercising the entire body, making for strong but compact and toned muscles. This has made Pilates very popular for women, but it is also something that men seeking muscle definition should consider. Pilates was invented by a man, after all.
Prevents injury: A body is only as strong as its weakest link. Because Pilates focuses on working out the entire body, it helps remove any weak links. It also causes the body to be in balance with itself so one muscle won't overpower and damage another.
Increases balance: As those who take advantage of Pilates become more aware of their bodies, they often find they are able to have greater balance. This is because Pilates workouts strengthen the stabilizer muscles. Increased balance can help in just about any pursuit, including nearly every sport.