It’s true that Pilates is an amazing and unique form of exercise, offering a whole host of benefits both physical and mental. But it can be daunting stepping into your first ever class… don’t worry! Everybody there has been in the same position as you at some point and there is no shame in having super inflexible hamstrings!
We’ve put together a list of a few things you can expect to realise on taking up Pilates for the first time to help prepare you…
7 Things You Will Come to Realise About Pilates
- 1 -
The first time you do Pilates, you realise you have been standing wrong your entire life
Learning to stand correctly is mind-blowing. You will realise you have been sticking your bum out way to far and hunching your shoulders forwards. Not only does great posture look amazing but it also feels just as good! You feel taller, slimmer, stronger and more graceful - not forgetting your back will thank you for it.
- 2 -
You will learn how to breathe properly
You may think that breathing is just an automatic thing we all do and you don’t have to think about it but you are wrong! One of the first things you will learn in Pilates is that you have not been using your lungs to their full capacity. Most of the time we all ‘Belly Breathe’ or ‘Diaphragmatic Breathe’ - take a look, when you inhale your belly will expand. Now tense your tummy muscles and attempt to breathe in just as deep without letting your tummy move. Hard right? This is called ‘Lateral Breathing’ - we can keep our core strong and breathe in to the sides and back of our lungs. Though this seems hard to begin with it is essential to learn so that you can keep your tummy strong and back protected during core exercises and things like picking up a heavy grocery bag.
- 3 -
‘Feel the burn’ becomes ‘feel the shake’
When doing positions correctly you find that your body shakes and you look forward to the instructor saying ‘Rest Position’. Don’t worry though as this is a good thing! It shows that you are using the correct muscles, don’t get me wrong it will still ‘burn’ a bit but you know you are on to a winner when the shakes appear.
- 4 -
You will realise how stiff your back and joints really are
Give it a little bit of time and soon the improvement of your flexibility and mobility will astound you and your friends. At first touching your toes with straight legs or even lying down with a straight leg in the air seems impossible. It won’t be long though until you are showing off your new found flexibility to your friends and you will enjoy the release of tension in your back and legs.
- 5 -
‘My balance and coordination is terrible’
Sound familiar? - Pilates will help you strengthen your muscles which in turn will help you become a balancing expert and it will help you find a ‘mind-body connection’. This connection is essential to everyday life, it helps you keep your body safe and prevent trips or falls, with the added benefit of being able to multitask a lot better - being able to balance on one leg while doing something else with your arms will seem like fun soon enough!
- 6 -
You will learn to cope better with stress and anxiety
We all suffer from stress at some point, and it can feel like a big black cloud is following you around. Not only is stress mentally exhausting but it takes a toll on your body as well. Pilates has been proven to help with both stress and anxiety and learning certain management techniques in class means you can put them in to practice in your everyday life. Mentally you will feel better and able to cope with whatever life throws at you. Physically you will feel stronger and more flexible with the added bonus of looking longer, leaner and more toned.
- 7 -
Pilates can help you sleep better
Sometimes no matter how hard you try sleep can be hard to achieve, whether that be from aches and pains or not being able to stop your mind ticking over. Pilates is a great aid for sleep. It relaxes the body and mind and gives you some great breathing and relaxation tools in your arsenal to turn to on the nights that sleep is proving difficult. Just 5 minutes of gentle exercises before bed can make a big difference on those days where your body and mind need a helping hand. Get ready to start feeling and sleeping better!