THE EXERCISES known as Pilates were developed by Joseph Pilates, who created his routine in the early 20th century with the aim of improving both the physical and mental health of students. They work — start Pilates and you can change your body plus boost your overall wellbeing with fairly rapid results.
Pilates is a great full body workout, gentle enough to be suitable for all ages and abilities yet so effective in strengthening your core and lifting your butt (low-slung bums be gone, regular practice will lift and tone!). It puts minimum stress on the joints and can help with back pain. Recent studies suggested that four weeks of Pilates can give more relief with niggling back pain than visiting the doctor or taking painkillers.
Then there are mental benefits! Pilates requires total concentration to get the breathing and positions correct. Your mind can’t wander to that crazy colleague who’s driving you mad or the huge pile of washing waiting at home when you’re so focused. That’s why you emerge from 45 mins of Pilates feeling rested and energised.
Joseph Pilates didn’t call his life’s work ‘the thinking man’s exercise’ for nothing. Research in China recently surveyed a group of women who did Pilates over 10 sessions and noticed they had a rise in alpha peak power, the mental agility related to memory and other cognitive functions. So if you feel you suffer from brain fog and mental fuzziness, you need Pilates.
Finally, Pilates will make you bendy. DO NOT SAY ‘I can’t come because I’m not flexible enough.’ Attend regularly and you will emerge flexible and relaxed, with perfect posture. See you in the studio!