With the arrival of spring comes a wish for new beginnings and more active routines. If you're looking to try something new and improve your fitness this season, why not give Pilates a go? Whether you prefer mat or reformer Pilates, this low-impact workout is perfect for toning and strengthening your body. Walking into your first class can be intimidating, but by coming prepared and ready to learn, you're sure to have a wonderful experience. Read this article to get our tips for your Pilates class.
What is Pilates?
It’s a low-impact full-body workout that strengthens your core, improves flexibility and posture and helps you develop lean muscles. Pilates includes a set of exercises performed on the floor or the Pilates reformer machine which is a piece of equipment designed to facilitate Pilates exercises. It is particularly useful for those seeking to develop core strength and stability, as it allows for a range of exercises that engage the deep muscles of the abdomen, back and pelvis. Read more about the history of Pilates here.
When choosing what to wear to your Pilates class, keep in mind that you'll be twisting and bending in various positions. Fitted, comfortable clothing that allows for flexibility and movement is ideal. Avoid clothing that's too restrictive or too loose, as it can hinder your movements and make the workout uncomfortable. A good outfit option would be yoga leggings and snug-fitting tops. Here's a more in-depth advice on how to pick your Pilates outfit.
It's essential to stay hydrated during your Pilates class, especially if you're doing a vigorous workout. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout to keep your body hydrated and energised.
Arriving early for your first Pilates class gives you time to get comfortable in the space and introduce yourself to the instructor. You can also ask any questions you have about the workout, the studio or the instructor. This helps you feel more prepared and less anxious about the class.
Get to know Pilates equipment
In a Pilates class, you'll have the opportunity to try out various pieces of equipment that can help enhance your Pilates experience. These tools are designed to support and challenge your body in different ways, helping you to fully reap the benefits of Pilates. You might work with a reformer, which is a popular piece of equipment that includes a sliding carriage and springs to provide resistance for your exercises. The cadillac is a more intricate piece of equipment that has bars, straps and springs attached for a wider range of exercises. The chair is a compact piece that can target both upper and lower body muscles, while the barrel can be used to focus on specific areas like the back and hips. Each piece of equipment offers a unique challenge that can help you build strength, flexibility and control in your body.
Listen to your body
Pilates is a challenging workout that requires focus and concentration. It's essential to listen to your body and work at your own pace. Don't push yourself too hard and take breaks as needed. If you have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to ask the instructor.
Focus on your breathing
The Pilates method involves a series of controlled, precise movements that require a lot of focus and concentration. To perform these movements correctly, it's important to coordinate your breathing with each movement.
Breathing in Pilates helps to engage the deep core muscles, including the diaphragm, pelvic floor and transverse abdominis. These muscles are responsible for providing stability and support to the spine, pelvis and other joints during Pilates exercises.
It's important to remember that Pilates is not a quick fix, but rather a long-term investment in your health and well-being. Unlike other forms of exercise, such as weightlifting or running, Pilates doesn't involve rapid muscle growth or dramatic changes in body composition. Instead, progress in Pilates is measured in small improvements in form, control and flexibility over time.
Pilates offers many benefits beyond the physical workout. It can help reduce stress levels, improve mental clarity and focus and enhance overall well-being. Many people find that Pilates improves their posture and helps reduce back pain, making it an excellent option for those with desk jobs or sedentary lifestyles.
With a little preparation and an open mind, you can enjoy all the benefits that Pilates has to offer. So go ahead and book that first class - your body and mind will thank you!