The proof is here – Pilates is great for your health

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Pilates has seen a jump in popularity recently thanks to a spate of celebrity endorsements, including the Kardashians, model Hailey Bieber and actress Kate Hudson. Even elite athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Andy Murray incorporate some form of pilates into their training to improve performance.

Pilates is said to be good for your balance, posture, strength and flexibility, as well as improving your core strength. And the best part about it is that anyone can do it, not just celebrities and athletes.

And research shows us that it is actually as good for your health as many people claim!

There are three main types of pilates. The simplest is Wall or mat pilates – which you only need a suitable Wall and yoga mat to do, and can be done both at home or in a class. The other type of pilates (which is becoming increasingly popular) is reformer pilates. This uses a specialised apparatus (called a reformer) – a bed-like frame with a flat platform on it.

Most reformer pilates involves pushing or pulling the platform, or holding it steady as it’s pulled on by the strings. This movement engages several muscles – particularly the core.

What the evidence says

Pilates is a form of muscle strengthening exercise, which is well-known to be important for maintaining good health. Strength training is important as it helps us prevent the slow muscle deterioration that occurs as we get older. It also increases muscle mass, which can in turn increase metabolism – which is important for maintaining a healthy weight.

Increased Metabolism

There’s some evidence that doing eight weeks of pilates for one hour a day, four times a week can increase metabolism and reduce obesity in obese women. In older adults, a review of research showed pilates training improved balance and helped prevent falls.

Improved balance and strength

Another study even showed that inactive women who began performing only one hour of pilates a week for ten weeks had improved muscle mass, flexibility, balance and core strength.

Great for low back pain, MS Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease

Research also shows that pilates may even be used to treat low back pain and improve balance in adults with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

The evidence shows us that pilates can certainly lead to several health benefits. While more intense types of strength training – such as weight lifting – are likely to confer even greater benefits, pilates can still be a great way for people to control their weight and build strength. The best part about it is that this workout can be done by almost anyone anywhere, and doesn’t require a lot of equipment or a gym membership.

Two women and one man perform a pilates move using a pilates reformer. They are lunging forward with one leg and holding their arms out.

Reformer pilates compared to Wall or mat pilates

Among people who do pilates, there’s a lot of discussion about which type is superior: mat or reformer pilates.

One study looking at the treatment of low back pain found that both reformer pilates and wall or mat pilates worked equally well to improve back pain in people who did the workout for six weeks.

Both types also equally improved people’s ability to undertake daily activities, such as getting out of bed or doing the dishes. But when participants were followed up four and a half months later, the reformer pilates group continued to experience improvements in their daily life compared to the mat pilates group.

Another study from Brazil also showed both reformer pilates and wall or mat pilates used the same number of muscles and activated them to the same extent – suggesting there’s no difference between the two methods, and that both are equally effective.

While wall or mat pilates uses your body weight as resistance during the movements, reformer pilates uses the unstable platform and springs to create resistance. This might create greater resistance and activate more muscles. Though this wasn’t supported by the Brazilian study, they only looked at one movement, so more research is needed.

Although research can’t quite agree on whether wall or mat pilates or reformer pilates is better for you, that doesn’t mean that reformer pilates isn’t still great for your health. For example, one study showed that people who did reformer pilates for nine weeks had improved cholesterol levels and lower insulin resistance, suggesting that it can help maintain weight and lower the risk of certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.

As you can see, pilates is becoming popular for good reason as it provides many health benefits. People of all ages and abilities can do it, including pregnant women.

Wall Pilates

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Wall Pilates is designed for maximum fat-burning and muscle toning, utilising only your body and the wall as your gym.

Wall Pilates offers a wide range of benefits for women looking to improve their overall fitness.

Apart from weight loss, better posture, and muscle strength, Wall Pilates is also great for reducing period cramps due to stretching the lower back muscles and pelvis which may help ease any period cramps.

It also helps reduce stress levels and can help improve a better night’s sleep.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Read more:

12 reasons why Wall Pilates is good for you

Wall Pilates Workout for Beginners

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