How to Get the Most Out of a Pilates Workout

by Jodee on December 20, 2010

Pilates is a way of exercising based on movements that start from a strong core in the body. It uses different types of equipment, such as exercise balls, resistance bands and foam rollers to help participants improve their fitness.

This method is very popular, and gyms and fitness centers around the country offer Pilates classes. Before you sign up for one, be sure to ask whether the instructors running them has been certified. A person who is fully qualified to teach Pilates has gone through several hundred hours of training and knows how to adapt the movements so that new students are less likely to injure themselves.

A person who is new to this type of fitness routine to encourage active living starts off with a very basic set of exercises. New movements are introduced based on the ones the student has already learned in a natural progression.

To get the most out of a Pilates workout, keep the following tips in mind:

Wear Comfortable Clothing

Avoid anything that feels restrictive when you are taking a class. Shorts or a tank top and a T-shirt are good choices. These exercises are meant to be done while barefoot, so you don’t need to worry about buying special shoes to exercise in.

Pilates are not meant to hurt, so if you start experiencing pain while performing the movements, it’s a sign to stop. Tell your instructor if you feel that you are straining or are feeling uncomfortable in any way.

Stay Focused and Breathe Properly as You Exercise

This type of exercise includes specific breathing techniques that you will be taught when you start going to classes. Don’t hold your breath while performing the movements; instead focus on your movements and breathe with them.

Move Slowly and Deliberately

Don’t perform jerky motions while doing Pilates. Instead, you want to create a fluid movement while performing the exercises. Think about dancers and the way they move if you need some inspiration.

Combine Pilates and Aerobics for a Full Workout

Pilates is not the type of exercise choice where you necessarily expect to get really sweaty. Once you have some experience in performing the motions, you can move quicker to get a better cardio workout. Another choice is to use Pilates as a way to improve your flexibility and strength and add something like using a stair stepper machine, walking, jogging, swimming  or cycling to get a more complete workout. All of these examples can help improve heart health through exercise.

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