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Health and Wellness: Increasing Awareness and Understanding in The Benefits of Pilates

By definition, Pilates exercise is consisting of low-impact muscular strength, endurance movements and flexibility, emphasizing in aligning the spine, strengthening the core and balance of the muscles. Pilates are combination of different movements and exercises focusing in body core strengthening and stabilization, promoting muscle endurance and control, increasing the body’s flexibility and overall strength. Pilates not just promote physical health but also improve mental health for overall total body conditioning, correcting alignment, concentration, centering, precision, control, breathing and flowing movement.

The body core is the area between your shoulders and your pelvis excluding the arms and legs, and it includes all muscles comprising it. These muscles include the transverse abdominal, pelvic floor and multifidus muscles which are tone and strengthened by Pilates movements, and are considered essential intrinsic core muscles. Pilates exercises are beneficial for regaining strength from our daily activities as the movements are geared towards proper posturing, prevention of muscle bulking and shortening, and strengthening the core alleviate and prevent neck, back and joint pains. The other benefits of Pilates are overall slimming, increased mobility, improving stance and posture, feeling of inner strength, stress reliever and promoting relaxation of the mind.

Pilates is not a type of exercise that will leave you tired after, instead you will feel more energized, having a positive mindset, feeling stronger and in control as you have just faced a challenging workout. Warm-up toning, flattening the belly, and working on the arms to promote circulation are used in Pilates. The first phase of Pilates is called “hundreds”, wherein you need to lie on your back, lifting your legs in a seventy-five degree angle, lifting the head and shoulders with your arms in your sides, and palms facing down, while pumping up and down and a series of inhalation and exhalation five counts each until you reach one hundred breaths. Roll-up, single-leg circles, single-leg stretch, sine stretch, mermaid side bend, side kick and crisscross are the movements involving Pilates.

Roll-ups are similar to sit-ups, wherein you lie on the mat with your hands overhead and then slowly rolling up to sit-up. Single-stretch involve lying on your back, lifting your head and shoulders off the floor, and then extending your right leg into the air at a forty-five degree angle, inhaling and hugging your left knee into your chest, and vice-versa for ten repetitions. To lengthen your back and hamstrings, spine stretching can be done in a seated position, wherein the legs are spread hip-width, with the feet flexed apart, stretching your arms in front, while exhaling and lowering the head between the arms, then finally inhaling and starting all over.

Pilates exercises provide many benefits to our health and wellness as not just physically but also mentally, socially and spiritually.