6 very common myths about Pilates

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6 very common myths about Pilates…

Pilates is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do to move your body. This dynamic movement method can take you through so many stages of life. As a compliment to sports training, aiding recovery from surgery or injury, supporting pre and post natal women, to helping increase bone density to reduce the onset of osteoporosis are just a few amazing examples of how Pilates has transformed some of our clients lives.

Having taught many clients for over 15 years, there are many questions and misconceptions clients have brought to my attention about Pilates! – so here are some common ones I hear often…

1. Pilates is only for women

Pilates was founded by a man (Joseph Pilates) to help rehabilitate soldiers during the second world war so the method was designed for men and women alike.

While it is true that Pilates is often thought of as a women’s only activity (due to its low impact nature, focus on pelvic stability and core strengthening) it has also been adapted to suit so many different needs and can complement weight training, running and elite sports performance for both men and women. A lot of professional athletes now include Pilates in their workout regime. 

2. Pilates and Yoga are the same.

Yes Pilates and Yoga do have similarities. They both work on strength, flexibility, postural alignment and stability. Yoga originates from India and is often part of a much larger spiritual philosophy and way of life. Pilates developed his method using many aspects from Yoga, Dance and even Acrobatics. But Pilates ethos is ‘control’ so that each movement is executed without over stretching or putting too much pressure on the body or joints. Pilates was developed as part of injury rehabilitation and focuses on strengthening the muscles. Pilates takes a controlled and monitored approach and is full of movements that support a healthy back and joints through strengthening core muscles and stabilising any weaknesses in the body.

4. Pilates is too easy – it’s just stretching

It’s always interesting how clients see Pilates at first, some also tell me they thought it was just going to be ‘relaxing’! Pilates is challenging but very different to other forms of high impact exercise like running or gym training. This is because it works by strengthening the smaller, stabilising muscles, as well as incorporating full body compound movements to create a balanced and tough workout.

The beautiful thing about Pilates is that there’s so many different types of classes to choose from. Mat Pilates (which uses your body weight and other small props) will produce much different results to that of Reformer pilates (specialised pilates equipment that adds resistance and load), and both will challenge the body in different ways. That’s why I always recommend new clients do their research, talk to us and find out what type of Pilates is best for the results they want to achieve.

3. Pilates is just working on core strength

Having a strong core is definitely a great side effect of a regular pilates routine but it’s not the only benefit.

While we do focus on integrating pelvic stability and core-strengthening exercises into each session, Pilates is really a full body workout. Pilates was originally called ‘contrology’, so it’s no surprise that control and body awareness are a big part of Pilates workout regimes. Pilates always delivers a totally unique blend of strength training, balance, coordination and postural work, it also creates a mind-body connection that focuses on technique and mindfulness.

5. Pilates is a way to lose weight quickly

Pilates can definitely help you if weight loss is your goal, but it’s best done in conjunction with balanced, individualised nutritional guidance and done consistently over an extended period of time. Pilates is a prefect compliment to a healthier lifestyle and done in conjunction with other activities such as walking, swimming, running, cycling. In other words it will assist a healthy long term weight loss programme. 

6. You have to be flexible to do Pilates  

Due to its comparison with Yoga, a lot of people think you need to be very flexible to do Pilates. One of the best things about Pilates is that it can be adapted to suit people of all ages and abilities so you do NOT need to be flexible at all to start Pilates. One of the greatest benefits of pilates training is the ability to teach someone how to move their body and gradually improve mobility and flexibility. A great result of this is a reduction in pain and risk of injury and not whether they can touch their toes!

If you want to know more about Pilates, please feel free to contact me for more information about about the wide range of Mat and Reformer classes we offer at PhysioworksNI. 

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Emily Waters.