7 reasons to love regular Pilates practice

Pilates has gained popularity in recent years, its slow, controlled movements offering a myriad of health and fitness benefits to suit all body shapes and sizes.

Whether you opt for the reformer, or stick to the mat, you’re certain to finish your workout feeling better than when you started. We spoke to Emily Rutherwood, studio manager and trainer at FS8 Oxford Circus, who shared her expert advice on the advantages of regular Pilates practice.

1. Feel-Good Mood

As the days are colder and darker during the winter months, our moods may start to dip. One way of boosting mood is taking up Pilates, as it triggers the release of feel-good endorphins as well as serotonin, the happy hormone.

Doing Pilates in a group class can also improve your mood as it creates a sense of togetherness, reigniting social connection through building relationships, and reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

2. Immunity-Boosting Properties

Immune systems don’t operate optimally in winter leaving us more susceptible to colds, flu and other viruses. However, regular participation in Pilates can improve immunity via mechanical and physiological process.

The emphasis on breathing and mindful movement encourages our fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system to calm down, reducing stress and allowing the immune system to improve.

3. A Great Way To Unwind

Whilst exercise helps to release feel-good endorphins, making you feel happy and energised after a workout, they’re not always relaxing. However, Pilates will leave you feeling relaxed rather than exhausted, with studies showing it can also boost mental clarity and encourage positive thoughts, too.

The emphasis on precise movement, that includes breath, rhythm and flow, means you have no choice but to leave your stress and the door and have time just for yourself. At FS8 Oxford Circus, classes are held morning, lunchtime and evening, so that you can always set aside 50-minutes of “me time”.

4. It’s A Full-Body Workout

Pilates trains the body as an integrated whole, focusing on core, lower body and upper body strength, as well as flexibility and posture.

Pilates provides a level of integrative fitness with attention to core support and full-body fitness, including the breath and the mind. It is also the reason that Pilates is popular in rehab settings, as well as with athletes who find it acts as a strong foundation for sport.

5. Gets Rid of Aches and Pains

Pilates is often recommended to those who experience lower back pain because of the emphasis on core strength and stability. It’s also an excellent form of exercise for people who suffer from various aches and pains, as it avoids placing pressure on the joints.

6. Better Posture and Form

Studies have found that Pilates is an effective way to improve balance and postural problems. To position the body correctly requires complex interactions of the bones joints, connective tissues, skeletal muscles and the nervous system.

The practice helps to correct alignment and improves awareness of your form in all other areas of training and in day-to-day movements.

Most Pilates moves require proper alignment and will challenge your stability to stay balanced. This helps fire up the midsection and will improve abdominal muscles, too. A recent study revealed that after just 12 weeks of Pilates, a majority of people had improved core strength.

7. Increases Flexibility and Co-ordination

During strength training, muscles often become short and tight. Incorporating Pilates with strength training can improve your flexibility and mobility by working through full range of motion and all planes of movement, helping develop long, lean muscles. And who wouldn’t want more of that? For more details on Pilates go to fs8.com

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Felicity Donohoe