Monday, July 19, 2021

Pilates is For Everybody! - See What Jules At Tonicity Fit Has To Say

What do you picture when you hear "Pilates?" Do you imagine a room full of ballerina-type women on complicated contraptions, doing moves a la Cirque du Soleil? Do you foresee a mundane 45 minutes of deep breathing and minimal sweating? Pilates can seem intimidating to some, or boring to others. So let's dive into a few of the common misconceptions about Pilates and see why this form of exercise is truly for every body!

What is it, exactly? Pilates is a methodical form of exercise that emphasizes the use of the core muscles to control all of the body's movements. The core, termed the "Powerhouse," consists not only of the abdominal muscles but the low back, hips, upper back, chest and shoulders as well. A strong emphasis is placed on using the innermost abdominal group, the Transverse Abdominis. Pilates exercises are meant to move the joints through a controlled range of motion while maintaining core stability. Fluidity, quality of movement, control and breathing are main tenets of the practice. You will notice that many of the exercises stretch various muscles and move the spine in many directions. Pilates is intended to be a very low impact, safe form of exercise that builds strength and mobility.

How did it start? The inventor of this style of exercise, Joseph Pilates, developed the methodology during World War I to rehabilitate imprisoned soldiers. He used ropes and bedsprings as resistance for certain movements, paving the way for the modern machines now used in many classes called Reformers. After the war, Pilates emigrated to the US and began working with dancers, using his new system to rehabilitate many of these performers. The Pilates system is still very popular amongst dancers, but has expanded to include all people from many walks of life. It is gentle enough for all ages and safe to perform for many types of injuries.

What are the benefits of Pilates? Pilates is a great way to learn how to use your core muscles properly. It is great for improving posture, strengthening and increasing the endurance of the core, and increasing flexibility. Over time, you will also become more aware of your body's movements and positioning, as mind-body focus is emphasized in these classes. If you've long considered yourself an awkward mover or a "bull in a china shop" exerciser, the control and precision that Pilates helps to develop can help alter your neural networks to produce more fluid movement. Pilates is typically done on a soft mat surface, making this an accessible form of exercise for most people. It is gentle enough to be used as an active recovery session in between more intense workout days.

Who should practice Pilates? The short answer is... anyone! It's a common misconception that you must be thin or flexible to be any good at Pilates. But the truth is, Pilates can be done by anyone of any shape or size and helps you become more flexible the more you practice. If you often feel sore after workouts or tightness in any muscle group, this could be a fun new way to work out the kinks. If you've avoided working out because it seems like a daunting task, Pilates class is a great way to ease back into a routine. If you lift weights often, Pilates is a great way to ensure that you don't lose range of motion with your strength gains.

How can I try Pilates? Tonicity Fit offers two virtual Pilates mat classes every week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings! All you need is a soft surface like a mat or comfortable carpet, a little bit of floor space, and your phone or a laptop. The same core moves are performed every class with slight variations and stretches thrown in, so while you'll get to practice and master the basics, no class will be exactly the same. Sign up through Zen Planner!

About Jules Baratta:  

Jules Baratta is a Philly area born and raised fitness professional who is in love with movement and passionate about your wellness. She was classically trained in ballet and contemporary dance from toddler through the college level and fell in love with Pilates, yoga, nutrition, and fitness in high school. She began picking up heavy objects in college and immediately fell in love with weight lifting. After college, Jules became a personal trainer in the fitness loving city of Austin, Texas before deciding she liked shoveling snow too much to spend winters down south.

To learn more about Jules, Click Here.

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