Work Some Pilates into your Training
If you’ve been pounding your joints, connective tissue and muscles for any length of time, read on. Staying in the fitness game requires getting real about recovery and occasionally rehab. You might think of Pilates as some kind of fad and have zero interest in it at this point, but let’s get into it a bit and see if your not convinced to give it a try.
Pilates, created by renowned German gymnast Joseph Pilates, was originally established to provide war veterans that were struggling with their mobility a low strain method to enhanced recovery and has since gone on to become one of the most effective all-natural approaches to physical rehabilitation – but that’s really just part of its application.
With the essence of this approach being a series of repetitive muscle contractions and physical movements/stretches that challenge each muscle group in the body, Joseph Pilates was onto something decades before it would catch up with the mainstream of fitness ethos. That is, that training for stimulation of the entire body in muscle development and recovery trumps isolating only “beach muscles” commonly the focus of so many weightlifting programs
And while Pilates has evolved into something completely different today (dare we say commercialized for the masses) than it was back then, the root philosophy of this physical regimen stays the same. Along those lines the benefits of Pilates endure as well, giving you the ability to strengthen your core, stabilize your spinal system, and improve overall strength, flexibility, pliability, and elasticity.
Think about the importance of THESE fitness goals as we age and stop chasing “glamour metrics” like poundage hoisted. There’s something to be said for being able to tie one’s shoes without pain!
With Pilates, you’re able to not only get stronger then you are right now and rehabilitate injuries – but there’s a legitimate fat-burning component to it as well – I found this out on my first serious 12-week Pilates experiment and was pleasantly delighted by this!
Is Pilates for everyone? Well heck yes!
While some of the more advanced Pilates movements are going to require you to have a foundational level of fitness and a certain amount of flexibility and pliability (a lot like yoga), the overwhelming majority of Pilates movements can be done by beginners without any basic level of fitness whatsoever – though you might not be able to do them to the same degree as those that have a little bit of more fundamental fitness under their belts.
Folks of all ages have been taking advantage of Pilates for years to rehabilitate and rejuvenate their bodies, and you’ll be able to as well!
How do I get started?
I recommend going to the source for the fundamentals of Pilates, and the video below is pretty legit as well. But if you are serious about making the most of this exercise and rehabilitation process, you’ll want to find a local Pilates practitioner and learn from someone with training and a deep background in it. Trust me, one session with a solid teacher is worth more than a dozen mistake-laden attempts trying to noob your way through a book or tutorial.
Instructors will have different certifications that you can verify (and make sure you do), and the odds are pretty good that you’ll be able to find at least a handful of instructors, groups, and classes in your local area so that you never have to worry about struggling to find a personality that really meshes with you.
What do I need to begin?
Good news! You don’t need to buy doodely-squat! In the first stages especially all you really need are comfortable clothes and maybe a yoga mat and you are off to the races!
Some classes may introduce resistance bands or weighted balls later down the line, but for the most part all you need is your own bag of bones to enjoy everything that Pilates has to offer. Of course you can also get your hands on DVD programs designed for the solo practitioner but again I do recommend at least getting yourself out to one class to avoid bad beginner habits. Try it out – a looser you awaits!