I was not always a fitness fanatic, so credit goes to Pilates for jump-starting my fitness journey, and to Nuhar Jaleel, Niki Brownell, Sandra Buchanan, and the other amazing instructors at The Pilates Principle for helping me realize just how much this fitness discipline can change not only my body, but mostly my mind about working out.
It was exactly what I needed to wean me into a healthy lifestyle change, and the motivation breakthrough to keep me going. But why would someone like me who was once uninterested in the fitness pursuit become a fitness addict, all because of Pilates? Here are 6 reasons:
For Awesome-Looking Abs
Growing up, I was made to believe that your fitness level was defined by how toned your abs were. Being naive at the time, I believed the hype and made it my life’s mission to get six-pack abs, the primary reason why I started doing Pilates. As I got older and grew wiser, I realized that how I looked in a crop top wasn’t as important as how strong I could be. Thankfully, Pilates is more about strengthening your core and overall body through controlled movements, as Nuhar emphasizes during her teachings. Getting awesome-looking abs is just an added benefit.
For A Longer, Leaner Body
Being only 5’1.5″ in height–and YES! That .5″ counts–I am what many would consider “vertically-challenged”. Pilates incorporates a lot of exercises that stretches and lengthens the muscles and spine, which can add a few milli-inches to your height if done regularly. I swear, Niki finds pleasure in seeing me in pain as she challenges my body to extend and twist in ways it’s not use to! But you know what they say, “No pain, no gain!”..And because of it, I feel longer, leaner and closer to being 5’2″!
To Prevent Pains Related To My Desk Job
Pilates has built this sort of muscle-based protector around my trunk that has helped improve my posture. My 9-5 requires me to sit in front of a computer behind a desk for long periods of time that you can’t help but slouch, which can result in really bad neck and back pains. But with regular Pilates, my body is a powerhouse with a strong trunk that forces my body to stand tall and sit upright, making pain a thing of the past.
To Perform Better In Other Activities & Sports I Enjoy
I like to hike, run, dance and do barre classes. I’ve also just recently started SUPing. Like many other fitness activities and sports, they require a strong, solid foundation for optimal performance, which I have been able to build because of Pilates, making these activities easy and quick for me to pick up. Also, Pilates conditions every inch of your body–even the wrists and ankles–contributing to healthy, balanced muscles, preventing any injuries sustained from weak muscles. With Pilates, I am stronger, more flexible and more agile, helping me perform better in other fitness activities and sports I enjoy.
It’s Gentle But SUPER Effective
Just because you aren’t sweating profusely, doesn’t mean your workout is not as effective. If manifested properly, Pilates can be all that you need to stay in shape! It is low-exertion and low-intensity, gentle enough to do everyday, but challenging enough to see and feel the change in your body. Trust me, Sandra likes to make sure you’re doing the movements right so that you feel the burn, and see the difference a few classes later. It’s a great alternative for days you don’t feel like getting your heart rate up.
To Have Time To Focus On Myself
Like most women, my head is constantly processing information a mile a minute, even during my sleep. During Pilates, I am forced to concentrate only on what my body is doing, allowing me to slow down my mind and be in the moment.
It was designed this way, to connect the mind with the body so that you are focused and aware of what is happening in the present and nothing else. And in a sanctuary like The Pilates Principle, you can’t help but feel like you’ve escaped from life’s distractions, clearing your mind of other thoughts, and being at one with yourself. This is your YOU time, honey! Make sure you embrace it!
I continue my practice today, three years later, still at The Pilates Principle studio, my now-Pilates sanctuary. But are you ready to give it a whirl? If you live in New York’s Capital District, try it out at The Pilates Principle studio located on 578 Loudon Road in Latham, NY. They also offer virtual classes if you don’t have a car or don’t feel like driving. For more information, to view the schedule or sign up for a class, please visit www.LathamPilates.com.