What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Pilates‘?
For most, images of huge, fancy machines come to their minds. While these huge, fancy machines, a.k.a. Reformers are used in Pilates Studios for super-effective workouts, it may seem a little aggressive to a first-timer who hasn’t quite dipped their toes in the Pilates pool just yet. If you want to kickstart your Pilates journey and are hesitant about Reformers, worry not. You can always opt for Mat Pilates, which is easy and effective. Infact, Mat Pilates is the the first form of Pilates developed by Joseph Pilates, which only requires a Mat and your dedication to get fit.
If you’re thinking to take up Mat Pilates, you’re in for some serious transformation for your mind,body and soul. The workouts often are focused on toning, strengthening, improving flexibility, and boosting your mental health. Before you grab your Mat and book your first session, find out what exactly Mat Pilates can do for you.
But first, What is Mat Pilates?
While the fitness industry took Pilates into consideration as a form of physical activity few decades ago, this form has actually been around much longer than we think. Joseph Pilates developed the exercise in the 1920s as a way for bedridden hospital patients injured during WWI. After opening his first Pilates studio near the New York City Ballet, he ended up using his practice to help recover injured ballerinas who needed a way to keep their dancer form. After gaining popularity in the ’90s, Pilates is now used as a low-impact exercise that builds strength, tones the muscles, and helps you become flexible.
Who does Mat Pilates work for?
While Pilates exercises are no longer limited to just hospital patients, it remains true that this form of exercise is an excellent option for patients recovering from injuries, but still can inculcate a low-impact exercise that their bodies can handle.
Pilates experts suggest that you can take a mat class prior to trying Reformers to understand the basics of Pilates. Mat Pilates will teach you the foundations of the exercise, easing the beginners to start their Pilates journey. While many studios will provide mats, you may want to invest in your own mat if you decide to keep up the practice or opt for an Online Mat Pilates Program.
Physical benefits of Mat Pilates
Generally, one of the major goals of Mat Pilates Classes is to strengthen the body’s “powerhouse,” a Pilates term that refers to your abdominals, lower back muscles, pelvic floor, hips, and glutes. Through a series of floor exercises using resistance bands or rings, this workout helps build, sculpt and tone these muscles, helping you achieve your ideal body. Pilates aids in building flexibility, and improving your posture.
Mental benefits of Mat Pilates
Breath-work plays a major role in Pilates. By enabling yourself to breathe from your belly instead of your chest, Pilates connects your breath to each exercise, making it more effective. Since you are focused on breathing deeply, the mind benefits from it. Often the benefits are – mindfulness, relaxation, and stress reduction, during and after class. Over time, your mind becomes trained to stay more focused not only while working out, but also in your daily activities. Those who practice Pilates often reap the benefits of these deep breathing exercises, suffering less from anxiety, anger, and even depression.
Mat Pilates is an effective, and precise set of exercises. It’s accessible to everyone, at any level of fitness and provides countless benefits.
Every studio does a great job of creating its own unique atmosphere. Take time to explore which ones feel most like home to you.
We also offer Online Mat Pilates Sessions that cater to all levels. If you’re looking to make Mat Pilates as a part of your fitness regime, you can contact us to get started.