What does Pilates really do for our body? Can this gentle practice that tones the muscles in depth also boost a slimming goal? And if so, after how long will the benefits of Pilates be visible? Discover the effects of this sport on cellulite, cervix, legs and back.

Why practice Pilates?

If the Pilates method has been so successful for a few years now, this can be explained.

At the crossroads of a sport, a method based on strengthening deep muscles, and gentle gymnastics, Pilates sessions combine stretching, body awareness and of course weight training. Indeed, in Pilates classes it is the whole body that we strengthen, and consequently that we can also slim down (because mobilizing muscles burns energy, therefore calories).
Finally, we manage to reclaim our body, until we discover our inner well-being by finally reconciling body and mind.

Origins of the Pilates method

Created in 1920 in New York by trainer and former German health professional Joseph Pilates, hence its name, Pilates helps to become more aware of your body and achieve visible results without sweating too much. His method is indeed based on regular movements, simple execution, which work however on the reconstruction of the balance of the body, the correction of asymmetries and chronic weaknesses, as well as on concentration and mental relaxation.

The practice of Pilates, the main principles

The basic principles of Pilates are different from other “gym” activities. First of all, movement control : we need to focus not only on the part of the body performing them, but on the entire posture, from head to toe.

Precision is essential, as well as the fluidity of the movements, which must always be very harmonious. The positions are not kept as long as in yoga, but they are more linked to each other, creating a kind of dance.

In addition, breathing is also essential to help the fluidity of movements and their control: it must be regular to allow muscle relaxation and oxygenation, greater range of motion and the ability to lengthen.

The benefits of pilates

As expected, the benefits of Pilates are very numerous, both physically and mentally.
First of all, it helps to increase strength without creating excessive muscle mass: the result will be a toned body with elongated muscle groups, with slimmer legs and a flatter stomach.
By working on breathing, pilates helps to strengthen your balance by rediscovering your “epicenter” and in fact improving physical and mental coordination.
Pilates helps correct bad habits that affect posture . You learn to better control your body, to understand its weaknesses.
Pilates also improves flexibilityboth muscular and articular, thanks to its stretches worked with breathing and the mobilization of deep muscles.
It also has a positive influence on cardiovascular and respiratory capacity .
Particular attention is paid to the abdominal belt , with real precaution for the pelvic floor (this too often neglected when strengthening your abs) and real benefits for the back.
On a mental level, pilates helps reduce tension and fatigue caused by stress . As a result, it helps to feel stronger and able to manage anxiety, helping to restore enviable inner balance and self-control.

Does Pilates make you lose weight?

Yes
This is all very well, you say, but does pilates also have a slimming effect? The answer is yes ! Pilates exercises aim to tone muscles, especially in the abdominal region, by shaping them. To do this, it is necessary to stimulate the deepest muscles, which requires a great expenditure of energy, which inevitably consumes calories and burns installed fat.

But
It should not be forgotten that pilates, although it represents a form of gentle gymnastics, remains an aerobic activity and, as such, promotes fat consumption and weight loss. Pilates fully contributes to fitness.
However, this form of gymnastics works less violently than crossfit, but if you exercise carefully and consistently, and take care of your build-up and sleep, basically with a better hygiene of life, the results will be really visible on the line.
The important thing is to accompany physical activity with a healthy diet: try these foods, speed up the metabolism to lose weight faster!

The Superman posture
Here you will find a first general exercise that can bring benefits to your body and your mind.

It is a simple exercise of stretching the belly, and toning of the lower back (essential for a toned abdominal belt), in short an ideal exercise for the flat stomach, in order to relax the muscles and start the training in a more gentle and effective.
1. Lie on your stomach with arms straight forward.
2. Squeeze the glutes, inhale the navel towards the spine and stretch your arms and legs lifting them off the ground.
Hold for 30 seconds each time, then release. Take care to breathe.

Warning! For fragile necks: make sure you keep your head down to keep the neck in line with your back. This is because bad postures can have a detrimental effect on the spine. Observe the placement of the whole body.

This exercise is obviously to be avoided in pregnant women!

Special benefits on the back and neck

Pilates is ideal for combating neck problems . By practicing the appropriate exercises to lengthen the muscles of the shoulders and neck, it will be possible to relax the injured area by reducing tension.
In addition, Pilates promotes mental relaxation, and we all know that stress caused by cervical contractions is often disabling!
This sport is highly recommended for people who suffer from back pain, because it was thought to improve posture in its foundations, by mobilizing the deep muscles, which few other sports disciplines do.

The benefits of pilates on the back can also be explained by other factors: this gymnastics helps to improve muscle resistanceand flexibility (and we know how the spine lacks flexibility all too often!), and fluidifies the movements.
By improving your general posture, you gradually give up all your bad habits and other awkward positions that cause back pain.

Back Stretch Exercise
1. Sitting with your legs stretched out in front of you, already statically observe your posture. Do not arch your back, if necessary place the buttocks in your hand more backwards and squeeze your stomach to stand more upright.
2. Then bring the chest forward, so as to keep the arms as parallel as possible to the legs. Try to maintain positoin breathe mindfully. Tip: The more flexible will fetch far ahead while trying to keep them as straight as possible column. If you lack flexibility, possibly get help from a third party who will gently pull on your arms (gently, really!) And most importantly, very importantly, remember to breathe and do not force.

The benefits of pilates on the legs and cellulite

The practice of pilates has many benefits for our legs, which will be much more toned over time. In addition, the exercises practiced with an effect on the deep muscles will prove to be really effective against water retention, thus promoting the reduction of cellulite.

Here is a perfect exercise for the legs (and also for the abdominal fascia), which, if performed on a regular basis, can bring significant improvements to our body, thus making it more toned.
1. Lie on your back, knees bent over your chest, arms wrapped around your knees.
2. Without forgetting to breathe, extend arms above the head and legs without touching the ground then return to the starting position.
3. Level 2: Do the same by lifting your head (and tucking in your chin) and shoulders when you stretch your arms and legs, without resting them when you bend your arms and knees.
Be careful not to arch or pull on the neck during the exercise.

Pilates exercise to do often for the stomach and legs

Good to know: Water retention results from a malfunction of the microcirculation and the resulting stagnation of fluids. It can be improved with a series of exercises targeting muscle groups that help boost blood circulation.

How long does it take to perceive the benefits of pilates?

According to Joseph Pilates himself, the benefits begin to be felt after a dozen sessions. It is estimated that with an established and regular practice, after 20 to 30 sessions, we display “a new body”!

Of course, to achieve this, several factors must be taken into account, such as consistency and frequency. The ideal would be to practice around 20 min each day to get quick results, but it is easier to take a class 3 times a week (and no less than 2), to see your efforts rewarded. Yes, like all sports activities, a Sunday morning session is certainly beneficial to health but is not enough to change your silhouette.

The muscles, to increase flexibility and tone, call and not frequent occasional practice, if not after 30 lessons, you always wait for changes!

Image sources: iStock

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