Looking for a full body workout? Pilates should be on your list this week. With exercises that focus to tone and build muscles, Pilates exercises will put your muscles to work and keep you feeling fit. Additionally, Pilates comes with a very important improvement — your flexibility.
When many of us work out, we might have one or two goals in mind, such as reaching our goal weight or to tighten our abs. But what about flexibility? What many of us don’t realize is that flexibility is very important for our body, especially as we get older.
Why Is Flexibility Important?
Our muscles need to be flexible and supple enough for us to make important movements during the day. When we walk, run, bend, and even lift objects, our flexibility is being tested each time.
As we grow older, our muscles tend to become weaker. We start to feel increased stiffness in our joints and become less mobile in our day-to-day activities. Engaging in exercises that boost flexibility can help our muscles stay strong and prolong our ability to be mobile as we age.
Benefits of Flexibility
Flexibility allows our joints and other body parts to perform at their best. Here are a few other important benefits that come with flexibility.
1. Reduced Stress
When you engage in stretching exercises or any exercise that promotes flexibility, you ease the tension from your muscles and help them relax. With less tension comes reduced stress, which benefits your mind, as well as your body if you were suffering from feelings of stiffness.
2. Reduced Back Pain
If we neglect to improve our flexibility, we can end up putting extra pressure on certain parts of our body, such as our lower backs. When our muscles are tight and stiff, carrying out daily activities only aggravates us and causes us pain.
With increased flexibility, we can ease muscle tension and keep our joints functioning well.
3. Improved Blood Circulation
When we help our muscles relax, we enable a regular flow of oxygen and other nutrients throughout the body. Stretching exercises can promote healthy blood flow and maintain healthy circulation.
4. Reduced Risk of Injury
Adding regular Pilates workouts to your routine can improve posture and balance which reduce your risk of getting injured. Our muscles have a range of motion to adhere to when carrying out different activities during the day.
Having tight and stiff muscles reduce our range of motion, and pushing past this limit can cause harmful sprains and injuries. Working towards improved flexibility will make your joints and muscles more fluid and increase your range of motion, which will prevent your body from injuries.
How Can Pilates Help?
Pilates classes include stretching exercises that relax and open up the muscles. These stretches help to avoid soreness and stiffness that you usually feel after working out.
The exercises you do during Pilates classes require you to carry out exercises in slow movements, targeting your posture and working on smaller muscles that are often neglected.
Two types of Pilates workouts:
- Mat-based: When you work out on the mat, you focus on balance and coordination. Your workout is on the floor and you use your body weight and gravity for resistance.
- Reformer and equipment-based: Reformers come with springs for resistance. You could even use dumbbells or a moving platform to control your exercise.
Give this class a chance! Even though you might not be used to the slow speed of the exercises, you will notice the results. These workouts train you to control your movements and maintaining this control is what pushes your limbs to enhance its flexibility.
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Therien, S. (2017, September 11). Yoga for Leg Flexibility. Retrieved March 30, 2018, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/324631-yoga-exercises-for-flexibility-in-legs/
(n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2018, from https://www.fitness.com/articles/660/the_importance_of_flexibility.php
How Pilates classes improve flexibility -. (2013, February 27). Retrieved March 30, 2018, from http://coe-dynamics.com/pilatesblog/how-pilates-classes-improve-flexibility/