Summer is creeping its way upon us, and we're all treated to an awakening of an urgency to get fit again. If you're not already a gym bunny, then it can get a bit overwhelming trying to find a gym/studio/sport that fits your needs and body. That's why we started this series to bust some myths about common fitness activities! To kickstart this series, we had a chat with Fang from Flex Studio about Pilates.
So what is Pilates all about?
Pilates aims to strengthen the body in an even, balanced way, with particular emphasis on connecting the mind and body, building on core strength, and to improve general fitness and wellbeing. Pilates are done on a mat or using special equipment, with its system of pulleys and springs, handles and straps, the apparatus can provide either resistance or support, depending on your needs.
Pilates was developed by German-born Joseph Pilates, who believed mental and physical health were closely connected. His method was influenced by western forms of exercise, including gymnastics, boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling. Pilates immigrated to the US in the 1920s and opened a studio in New York, where he taught his method – which he called contrology – for several decades.
Who is Pilates for? Who should ideally practice it?
Everyone. Pilates has something to offer people of all ages and levels of ability and fitness, from beginners to elite athletes. The apparatus can be used to provide support for beginners and people with certain medical conditions, as well as resistance for people looking to challenge their body.
What’s the difference between Pilates and Yoga?
While the methods are different, pilates and yoga both develop strength, balance, flexibility, posture and good breathing technique. Both systems emphasise the connection between physical and mental health, although yoga places more emphasis on relaxation, and uses meditation. Pilates is performed both on apparatus and mats with a more scientific basis, whereas yoga doesn't require any equipment.
How often should you practice Pilates?
Consistency is the key, If you would like to see the better result, we would recommend 2-3 times a week.
Can Pilates help you lose weight?
Pilates helps you strengthen your muscles, including uncommonly used muscle groups, and it can help you maintain the healthy weight. The classes can vary in intensity. If you wished to lose weight, you are advised to combine Pilates with a healthy diet and other exercises with aerobic activities for fat burning.
Note from our editor:
I had a trial personal session with Fang at Flex Studio, and I must say, not only is Pilates vastly different from Yoga, it provided stretches and muscle training that not many other activities could provide. If you're a beginner looking to get into Pilates, or you have some injuries that needs rehabilitation, I highly recommend booking yourself in (or with 2 other friends) for a few private sessions to get a good head start. Of course, this may get too pricey if done on the regular, but you can always have 1-2 sessions before joining the group classes.
P.S. Next week, we'll get the scoop on Xtend Barre - an activity that combines dance, ballet and pilates. So watch this space!
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Written by Karen Chiang