Pilates, popularized by celebrities, is much more than for just promoting a “long and lean” figure, and isn’t primarily just for women.

Pilates is for everybody, regardless of gender, age, race, size, ability, or current fitness level.

The Pilates repertoire, which includes mat and specialized equipment exercises, is made up of over 600 exercises and variations.

There’s something for everyone, whether you have a sedentary lifestyle, are a weekend warrior, are pregnant, are undergoing rehab, have anxiety, or if you’re a professional athlete. Keep reading to find out some of the numerous benefits of Pilates.

19 benefits of Pilates

1. It increases core strength

Pilates is famously known for its emphasis on the core — the center of the body from which all movement stems. The core is all of the surrounding muscles of the trunk that when strengthened and pliable, support and stabilize the body.

Pilates improves core strength and function. Core strength is a key factor in decreasing back and hip pain, decreasing pelvic floor dysfunction, and is the area from which explosive movement derives, hence its nickname “the powerhouse.”

2. It improves posture

Your parents had the right idea when they told you to stop slouching and sit up straight.

Improved posture is the difference between weak, imbalanced muscles, headaches, shoulder or back pain, and sitting or standing tall with ease.

Pilates focuses on the full body’s alignment, ideal range of motion at the joints, and a balance of all opposing muscles. It improves posture by bringing awareness to your alignment and strengthening neglected postural muscles.

3. It decreases back pain

Pilates targets the deeper abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor to both contract and release — a true sign of strength. These muscles work like a brace to lift and support the organs and protect and stabilize the back.

4. It prevents injuries

Pilates balances the muscles of the body so that they are neither loose and weak nor tight and rigid. Muscles that are too loose and weak or too tight and rigid can make the body more susceptible to injury.

Pilates focuses on developing dynamic strength, which means you are better able to support and stabilize your joints while moving.

5. It increases energy

By focusing on breath, Pilates improves cardio-respiratory capacity. It stimulates feel-good hormones, oxygen flow, and blood circulation.

Pilates achieves all of this and, due to its low impact nature, rarely leaves you feeling fatigued. Instead, it gives you a boost of energy.

6. It enhances body awareness

Pilates is a mind-body practice that enhances , or body awareness. The attention inward and ability to focus on the sensations in your body heightens your awareness of comfort or pain, your emotions, and your surrounding environment.

With enhanced proprioception, the body is better able to respond to stimulus, which can prevent injuries and falls. Better body awareness may even help you prevent overeating, as you’ll be more in tune with your body’s hunger signals.

7. It decreases stress

Continuing from the benefit of body awareness, the inward focus and use of breath from Pilates can down-regulate the nervous system. This, in turn, can take you out of fight-or-flight mode, lower cortisol, and decrease stress over time.

8. It improves flexibility and mobility

First, let’s define the difference between flexibility and mobility.

Flexibility is the amount of passive stretch in a muscle. Mobility is the range of motion at a joint. Good mobility requires flexibility but also strength.

Mobility is something you should strive for, while flexibility in and of itself isn’t functional. You need a balance of strength and flexibility to optimize mobility.

A Pilates practice keeps moving with smooth transitions between precise and slow, controlled movements. Instead of stretching after a strengthening exercise, most Pilates exercises are a combination of the two, which improves strength, flexibility, and mobility.

9. It improves balance

Balance is important at any age and necessary for everyday activities involving coordination, like walking, or any of life’s nonlinear movements, such as reaching up and twisting.

Pilates improves balance and gait not only through core strengthening but because of its focus on alignment and whole body exercises.

10. It enhances sports performance

Whether you’re a professional athlete or weekend warrior, Pilates can elevate your sport or activity.

Pilates balances the body by strengthening muscles, mobilizing what’s rigid, and lengthening tight areas. This, in turn, enables you to react quicker and prevent injury.

11. It boosts your mood

Exercise of any sort offers that magical elixir of endorphins.

But studies that specifically explored the mood-boosting benefits of Pilates have found that subjects experienced a reduction in anxiety, fatigue, and depressive symptoms, and a release of negative thought patterns.

12. It encourages playfulness

Last but not least, many people think Pilates is a fun change of pace from other workouts.

Where else can you “roll like a ball,” be a “seal,” hang like a “monkey,” or just play with trying new positions? Finding a sense of play can enhance your physical health in several ways.

Not to mention, the most beneficial exercise regimes are those that you enjoy doing — because then you’ll keep exercising.

Benefits of the Pilates reformer

The Pilates reformer, after mat exercises, is the most popular and used piece of Pilates equipment. It’s a sleek pulley system consisting of a sliding carriage and springs with varying degrees of tension.

The reformer is an adaptable machine full of variety that is perfect for beginners, challenging for the avid fitness enthusiast, and suitable for those recovering from an injury.

The reformer can build muscular endurance efficiently in a non-weight bearing manner, making it more comfortable for the joints.

The bottom line

Pilates has tremendous benefits and is suitable for everyone regardless of fitness level, age, size, or any other factor.

Incorporating a Pilates practice into your training regimen can greatly support and enhance any endeavor you take on.

Whether you’re seeking to feel better, tone up, build muscle mass and bone density, or cross-train, Pilates can positively affect your quality of life.

DISCLAIMER: These posts should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, physical or psychiatric condition. Information shared via posts does not replace professional healthcare advice specific to your condition and needs. If you are unsure whether you would benefit from implementing tools discussed in these posts, please contact your healthcare provider.