Pilates has been loved by more and more people around the world. The advantage of this exercise method is that it is suitable for all ages and everyone can achieve gratifying fitness results. Since Pilates does not bring negative effects such as shock and pressure to the body, Pilates is also an ideal exercise method for those who are too lazy to exercise due to joint pain and muscle weakness.
Benefits of Pilates
Pilates is convenient and easy. You don't need any heavy and expensive exercise equipment at all, you can do it anytime, anywhere. Among them, some exercise combinations are less than 10 minutes each time, so it is an excellent form of exercise for busy people. In addition, practicing Pilates regularly can also bring the following benefits to the body:
1. The spine becomes healthier and softer
Pilates can give more care and support to the spine, keeping a certain gap between each vertebra. This will not only make your figure look taller, but also enhance your body's flexibility. The improvement of body flexibility can not only prevent degenerative diseases of the spine (such as herniated disc), but also make your behavior more elegant and decent.
2. Make fitness exercises easy and comfortable
Pilates can be added to any fitness plan. Pilates neither puts pressure on the joints, nor does it wear out the ligaments and cartilage around the joints (especially the knee and shoulder joints). When practicing Pilates, not only the muscles of the whole body will get a balanced exercise, but also the self-consciousness will be enhanced through mental restraint. Pilates exercise has a strong ability to repair, and its effect is just like physical therapy. Unlike other fitness methods, you can practice Pilates every day without worrying about putting pressure on joints and muscles. You only need to exercise three times a week and you can see rapid and significant results.
3. Improve mental condition and increase initiative awareness
Pilates is good for mental health. Its smooth and steady exercises not only calm the mind, but also have a calming effect on the nervous system. As the muscles continue to be stretched and strengthened, blood circulation will be enhanced, and the physical and mental tension and fatigue will disappear. Therefore, every exercise of Pilates will make you feel peaceful, coordinated and refreshed.
4. Enhance the balance of the body
Entering the age of no doubt, due to the weakening of muscle tissue and the decline of nervous system function, the body's balance ability begins to decline. Pilates helps to reverse this aging process by stabilizing the core parts of the body. The secret of Pilates fitness is to exercise the muscle tissues of the deep parts of the body. It is these muscle tissues that ensure the stability of the body and make the spine flexible and strong.
5. Relieve body pain and joint stiffness
If you have osteoarthritis, you will find that using Pilates exercises to stretch can relieve joint and muscle pain. Appropriate exercise methods are essential for the treatment of arthritis. Pilates can cope with this disease because it can increase the flexibility of the limbs through stretching exercises, thereby reducing joint pain and fatigue. Stretching helps to deliver some important nutrients to the muscles and tendons around the joints, thereby maintaining the health of the joints and reducing the risk of injury. In addition, stretching exercises can also stimulate the secretion of joint synovial fluid and prevent joint stickiness caused by inflammation. With the continuous improvement of blood circulation, the joints and muscles of the legs, back, neck, and shoulders are relaxed, which is very helpful for alleviating the pain and stiffness in these parts. Pilates can also correct bad posture and relieve tension, which helps relieve headaches, backaches, neck pain and other symptoms.
6. Conducive to postpartum body shape recovery
Many parturients feel distressed for their sagging abdomen after childbirth. If they can persist in practicing a few Pilates exercises, they will see results soon.
7. Strengthen the core of the body
Every Pilates movement is carried out around the core part of the body from beginning to end. Once the core part of the body is strengthened, many magical changes in the body will occur.
Several basic movements of Pilates practice
1. Shrink Abdomen
A. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Focus on the area from below the navel to the pelvis, and lift and retract the abdominal muscles as if you were wearing a pair of tight jeans. This movement of adduction and lifting can stretch the entire torso while making the navel close to the spine.
B. Experience the feeling of wearing tight jeans again. This time, the waist and abdomen were contracted more tightly, and the zipper seemed to be pulled to the heart, thus squeezing the body longer. During the whole process, you should carefully experience how the pelvis is slightly tilted and how the back becomes straight (the waist still has a little curvature).
2. Foot Exercises
Some Pilates exercises require a hook, while others require a stretch. When hooking the foot, press the heel down to raise the sole of the foot and straighten the toe as much as possible; when stretching the foot, press the big toe down to flatten the foot, but do not press the foot too much.
3. Essentials of Neck Movements
When doing Pilates exercises, whether you are sitting or lying on your back, do not raise your chin and arch your neck as shown in Figure 1, but keep your neck stretched, as shown in Figure 2. When doing this exercise, feel that there is a rope pulling on the top of your head, and your chin is slightly retracted.
4. Basic upper Abdominal Strength Exercises
Basic upper abdominal strength exercises can not only enhance blood circulation, but also strengthen the abdominal muscles, especially the upper abdominal muscles. During the exercise, relax your arms and do not use the strength of your arms to lift your head and shoulders.
A. Lie on your back with a cushion or pillow under your head and shoulders. Bend your knees and lay your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head and extend your elbows.
B. Tuck your abdomen, exhale, and lift your head and shoulders up at the same time; then, slowly return to the original position and inhale at the same time. Throughout the exercise process, always keep the abdomen tight. Repeat this exercise until you feel tired.
5. Core Strength Exercises
This exercise focuses on the lower abdomen (the end of the rectus abdominis), which is a common weakness of women, especially those who have had children. Core exercises are also the foundation of all Pilates movements. When doing this exercise, you should experience the strength from the lower abdomen and groin, not the ribs and upper abdomen. In addition, first tighten and lift the muscles in the groin area, imagine that a coin is clamped in the groin area, and then lift the buttocks. Note that the head stays relaxed and the elbows stay stable.
A. Lie on your back and place a pillow or cushion under your hips for support. Bend your legs and lift them crosswise. Rest your head on your hands and extend your elbows to touch the ground.
B. Contract the abdominal muscles, use the strength of the lower abdomen and groin to bring both knees closer to the chest, and exhale at the same time; then, restore the original position and repeat the exercise.
6. Abdominal Strengthening Exercises
If you can complete the above exercises easily, then experience the enhanced version of the exercise.
A. Lie on your back, place your hands on your side with a cushion or pillow between your thighs and calves. At this time, keep stretched from the top of the head to the tailbone.
B. Contract the abdominal muscles, raise the hips, bring both knees closer to the chest, and exhale at the same time; then, inhale while returning to the original position. Repeat this exercise.
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