Pilates is one of the most versatile, low-impact exercises that can be adapted to almost anyone. People of any age and fitness level can practice Pilates, a series of low-impact exercises that focus on coordinating intentional breathing with movement. Although Pilates has been practiced since its inception in the 1920s, this unique form of exercise has gained a lot of popularity recently, as new Pilates studios seem to be popping up all over the place.
Like all forms of exercise, Pilates comes in many forms and variations – including Pilates reformer exercises, Pilates on the wall and mat Pilates. Each type of Pilates brings its own set of benefits to the table. For many, Pilates exercises at home offer the flexibility and benefits they are looking for, without the expense associated with attending a gym. Before you try pilates at home, learn what basic equipment you’ll need to get the most out of your workouts.
Benefits of Pilates
The list of Pilates benefits goes on and on, from improved mental health to improved flexibility. For this reason, people of any age, gender or physical ability can benefit from Pilates exercises. Some of the most common benefits include improved posture, better concentration, more balance, improved muscle tone and strength, and more. For many, Pilates also provides support as part of a self-care routine to manage stress, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Why try Pilates at home?
Practicing Pilates at home is attractive for a variety of reasons, from cost to flexibility. Joining a local Pilates studio offers access to a reformer, a piece of equipment that adds tension to springs to lengthen and strengthen muscles during exercise. However, the price of a reformer is high, which ultimately equates to an expensive membership. If spending $150+ a month on a Pilates studio membership isn’t for you, you can still get the same benefits from the comfort of your own home.
Taking Pilates classes at a studio also means sticking to a class schedule, which can be difficult for busy professionals or parents. When you add class time plus transit time, this can be too much time for busy work days. Trying Pilates at home can give you more flexibility to work out at a time that works best for your schedule. Plus, you won’t have to worry about checking availability at a gym or pilates studio.
Another benefit to consider when doing Pilates at home is the customization it offers. As you learn new skills, you can develop a series of exercises that work for your body and move through the exercises at your own pace. This individualization also allows for modifications for those with chronic conditions or physical limitations. Pilates exercises at home can also be done in addition to an exercise routine that includes classes at the studio.
Equipment for home pilates
As interesting and beneficial as Reformer Pilates can be, don’t be fooled into thinking you need expensive equipment to practice Pilates effectively. Investing in a few pieces of basic equipment can help you maximize your home workouts. Here are a few things you will need. Over time, you’ll learn how to effectively use these essential pieces of Pilates equipment for a killer workout that’s just as good, if not better, than your local Pilates studio.
An exercise ball
A small exercise ball or stability ball will come in handy for various Pilates sequences. For example, exercises that involve activating the deep stabilizing muscles often use a ball, in addition to abdominal exercises or hamstring exercises. People with lower back pain can also use a ball under the lower back to add extra support during certain exercises. When buying a pilates ball, choose one that is lightweight and doesn’t break.
A foam roller is another must-have for your Pilates workout, which can be used for multiple purposes. Foam rollers can be used to improve balance and stability, as well as create a self-massage for your muscles. Foam rollers have also been shown to increase blood circulation and maximize the flexibility of your muscles.
A comfortable and supportive mat is important for maximum comfort during Pilates practice. You don’t want to work on a hard floor or carpet that could cause carpet burn. When choosing a pilates mat, look for one that is medium in thickness and has cushioning for support. Choosing a high-quality mat is a smart investment that can help support your knees, joints and spine.
If you plan to practice Pilates in different locations, look for a mat that rolls easily and is lightweight. This will make it easy to practice Pilates on the go, no matter where you are.
The pilates ring, sometimes called the “magic circle” is often used in studios and pilates classes, but is small and inexpensive enough to buy for your home. This ring is used for a variety of strength and stretching exercises such as bench press or standing push-ups. Adding a circuit can help make certain exercises harder by adding extra resistance, which can also help you build more muscle mass.
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