Here’s something to exercise both your mind and your body. A firm favourite with elite athletes and dancers alike, Pilates is used to complement their training by developing whole body strength and flexibility - it can help to reduce the risk of injury too. It is one of the few disciplines of exercise that is both challenging and calming at the same time.
Pilates can improve your core strength with a focus on balanced muscle development - strengthening and lengthening muscles to produce lean, strong overall muscle tone, without the bulk. Pilates will also do wonders for your posture, flexibility and balance, reduce stress, improve focus, and as a result, you’ll feel great.
So how exactly does it work? Well, Pilates exercises are very methodical and precise - you really need to focus on form. A Fitness First Pilates class helps you understand the Pilates technique and get more out of your workout. It takes you through a sequence of low-impact movements, all starting from the centre of the body and moving out to the limbs. You need to concentrate on what you’re doing all of the time so that you can achieve smooth, controlled movements. It’s much better to do one precise and perfect movement, than several half-hearted efforts. Once you’ve achieved precision the exercises are intended to flow into each other in order to build strength and stamina.
The moves may look simple, but they take a lot of focus and control. At the end of your Pilates class you should feel relaxed but like you’ve had an intense workout – energised but calm. The key to this is the concentration you need combined with the breathing techniques that you’re taught. Like yoga the emphasis is on the connection between physical and mental health. So if you enjoy yoga, but need a more intense core workout, this could be just the thing for you.