Pilates is a common buzzword in the health and fitness world, but is Pilates good for weight loss? If you’re looking for a new workout routine to improve your strength and flexibility to help ease aches and pains, or simply something easy to kick-start your workout routine – Pilates could be the answer.
Whether you’re new to the world of exercise or a workout veteran, Pilates is a great way to expand your fitness horizons. Read on to discover everything you need to know!
What Is Pilates?
Pilates is an exercise that focuses on flexibility, strength, posture, and balance. Similar to yoga, a typical Pilates session normally lasts for 45 minutes to an hour. During this time, you’ll be doing various moves and postures that involve slow and precise movements to promote your core strength and improve your general fitness.
Types of Pilates: Mat and Reformer
Discover the dynamic world of Pilates, where two distinct styles await you – the classic mat practice and the innovative reformer method. Read on to find out the best type for you!
Mat Pilates is a training that emphasises building muscle groups and core strength. The exercises can be tailored to any age, body type or fitness level, making it more accessible and easier for those who have just started exercising.
One of the most common mat Pilates moves is the Hundred. This classic posture requires you to:
- Lie on your back on a mat and drag your navel down towards your spine to push it on the floor
- Extend your arms parallel to your hips
- Lift your legs straight up, and then drop them to a 45-degree angle with the floor
- Raise your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor and lift your arms a few inches
- Breathe in through your nose, and exhale through your mouth, while pumping your arms
- Work your way gradually to 100 repetitions
In a reformer training session, you’ll use a Pilates reformer machine, which adds more resistance to a Pilates workout, and helps to promote your strength, flexibility, and balance through a variety of postures.
Invented by Joseph Pilates, the reformer machine is a bed-like frame with a flat platform on it that rolls back and forth on wheels and a set of springs connects the carriage to one end of the reformer.
Most Pilates reformer exercises involve pushing or pulling the carriage or holding it steady while it’s being pulled on by the springs, which helps you to build up your strength and endurance.
If you’re a beginner, it’s advisable that you try mat Pilates first. This way you can learn the basics of Pilates and understand how to accurately perform the moves.
Benefits of Pilates
Pilates has been found to have beneficial effects on both your mental and physical wellbeing. Common health benefits include:
- Enhances posture and core strength – it can bring your attention to your alignment and strengthen weak postural muscles
- Reduces stress – Pilates’ internal concentration and emphasis on breathing may relax and regulate your nervous system, which over time helps to reduce tension and stress.
- Pilates is a low-impact exercise, so you rarely feel exhausted afterward; instead, it increases your energy levels by enhancing your cardiorespiratory fitness.
- Assists you in losing weight and keeping it off – According to one research, including Pilates in your regimen can help you lose weight, reduce your BMI, and tone your waist.
Can Pilates Help with Weight Loss?
Although Pilates is a low-impact exercise, it may be able to help with weight loss. It is great for toning, building muscle, and improving posture. Regardless of your age, body type, or fitness level, you’ll find training that helps you to your goals.
Compared with aerobic exercise, such as jogging and swimming, a traditional mat Pilates session burns fewer calories due to its low-impact nature. Nevertheless, practicing Pilates is a great way to kick-start your fitness routine, as it will rarely leave you exhausted afterwards.
If you enjoy Pilates classes, you are more likely to stick to your routine if you attend these sessions on a regular basis, and this is usually the first step towards an active lifestyle.
If your goal is to lose weight, it’s suggested to incorporate cardio exercises, such as swimming or jogging into your routine – in addition to Pilates – to see the optimal results.
How Often Should I Do Pilates?
If you’re a beginner, it’s suggested to practice the mat Pilates two to three times a week to reap all the benefits and get comfortable with the moves.
When you’ve gradually built up your experience, it’s also recommended to either increase the days you practice or try advanced reformer Pilates sessions, which could help you to strengthen your muscles, and contribute to your weight loss journey.
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