Strength Training is A MUST….And Pilates is the Perfect Choice
Many of us make sure we get regular exercise. We walk, run, spin or go to a Zumba class. We are aware of the many benefits of getting our “cardio” in. Did you know that making sure you incorporate a strengthening program in your routine is just as important? Some of us skimp on our recommended strengthening program either because we don’t want to get “big and bulky” or we simply don’t know what exercises are important. Going into a gym and trying to figure out all those machines….how to work it, which machine is the best, how much weight should be used…..can definitely be a bit intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Lifting weights at a local gym is not the only way to improve your strength.
Benefits of Strength Training
- Makes the bones stronger – Strength training engages the muscles that are attached to the bones. Engaging those muscles puts a healthy stress on the bones which can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia.
- Helps you manage or lose weight – Strength training can increase your metabolism, enabling your body to burn calories at a higher rate.
- Makes your body stronger both physically and functionally.
- Strength training helps improve body mechanics with everyday activities.
- Helps to manage chronic conditions or pain, like diabetes or pain associated with arthritis.
- Boosts energy levels and improves mood
There are many different ways to improve your strength. The best routines include all types of strength training.
Types of Strength Training
- Body weight
- Resistance bands or springs
- Free weights
- Weight machines
When trying to decide on the best way to add strength training to your routine, Pilates is definitely something you should consider. Some people believe Pilates is a simple form of exercise where you lie on a mat for an hour and just stretch. Not so. Pilates is designed to improve strength and improve it the right way with proper form, sequencing, variety (to challenge the body) and balance. It is designed to strengthen the body as a whole unit rather than just one muscle group at a time.
Reasons Pilates is the best form of strength training
- Pilates emphasises functional strength.
- Pilates builds strength starting with the core muscles.
- Pilates incorporates body weight as resistance in many of the exercises.
- Mat Pilates can use free weights and/or resistance bands to intensify the work.
- Equipment-based Pilates uses springs to build strength.
- Pilates teaches you proper form with all strengthening exercises.
- Pilates is designed to build lean long muscles that carry us gracefully and beautifully.
Everyone, no matter how young or old, should be doing some kind of regular strength training. This could be at the gym, at home or in a Pilates studio. It is important to use a variety of different types of strengthening to optimise the results. Combining both Mat Pilates and Equipment Pilates is a perfect way to improve your strength and get you walking taller and stronger tomorrow.
****Contact Amanda B. Smith of Columbus, Ohio. She is a licensed physical therapist, certified Pilates instructor and ACE certified group exercise instructor with more than 25 years of experience. She is also the owner and sole instructor of ABS Pilates.