As an observer, you may think that a mat Pilates class looks like a rather sedentary activity. Most of the session is spent lying down or in a supine position. There are minimal movements and no equipment. However, as with all Pilates classes, the principles are based around concentration, control and balance – all of which require an enormous amount of strength and effort. Listed below are a few of the fantastic benefits of a mat Pilates class.
FOCUS ON AND IMPROVE YOUR CORE STRENGTH
Every class offers one of the most effective and challenging ways of developing core strength and stability. A strong core (abs, back and glutes) boosts your overall athletic output and daily function. This increased strength and control of your core will help you avoid injury and improve your posture.
INCREASE YOUR MUSCULAR ENDURANCE AND FLEXIBILITY
A recent study has shown that engaging in mat Pilates for a mere 60 minutes per week significantly improves abdominal stability, hamstring flexibility and upper-body muscular endurance. These benefits were clearly observed after only 12 weeks regular practice.
MAINTAIN THE HEALTH OF YOUR SPINE
Pilates mat exercises will help if you have any issues with the health of your back and spine. Pilates can be particularly helpful for people with pain caused by excessive movement and degeneration of the vertebrae, discs and joints. Pilates, especially mat classes, also helps balance the sides of the body, aiding in creating postural symmetry. This will also help to prevent injuries caused by uneven stress patterns on back joints and discs. The movements and exercises involved in these classes with improve mobility in the hip and shoulder joints, preventing excess stress on the spine. Pilates places heavy focus on the proper alignment of the back. This focus will make you more aware of how you hold yourself from day to day and will inevitably improve your posture.
Written for ZH Pilates by Sam Dennis.