Joseph Pilates created Pilates to rehabilitate wounded World War I soldiers. Then Pilates became a means of conditioning for dancers. Through the years, it has progressed as an exercise trend in the 90s.
Today, Pilates has become a popular workout known for creating a strong core, building flexibility and strength whilst keeping the body lean, as well as conditioning the mind. Many well-known celebrities are able to maintain their figure and great athletes are able to keep themselves on top of their game because of Pilates.
For the last 50 years, Pilates has come a long way.
Because of its countless benefits, Reformer Pilates can change your life, whether it be physically or mentally.
You may think that if you do Reformer Pilates regularly, it can improve how you look on the outside. That’s true. But because it is also a mindfulness exercise, it can also improve you in a mental aspect. Or rather, it can improve your life overall.
Here are some of the main reasons why Reformer Pilates can change your life.
Mindfulness has been associated with psychological well-being. Awareness and nonjudgmental acceptance, which are elements of mindfulness, can be effective antidotes to common forms of psychological distress.
Pilates movements are complex. It requires your mind to be in the present moment because you’ll also be focusing on your posture while doing breathwork and tensing some muscles and relaxing others.
A 2011 study showed that mindfulness brings about various positive psychological effects, including increased subjective well-being, reduced psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity, and improved behavioural regulation .
We subconsciously breathe around 30,000 times a day. But when we’re feeling stressed or anxious, it increases, with shallower, sharper breaths. Reformer Pilates teaches you deep, diaphragmatic breath control.
In a 2017 study, the researchers provided evidence demonstrating the effect of diaphragmatic breathing, on mental function. The study showed that diaphragmatic breathing can improve sustained attention, affect, and cortisol levels .
A 2018 study showed that slow breathing techniques promote autonomic changes increasing heart rate variability and respiratory sinus arrhythmia paralleled by central nervous system (CNS) activity modifications. EEG studies show an increase in alpha and a decrease in theta power.
Anatomically, the only available fMRI study highlights increased activity in cortical and subcortical structures. Psychological/behavioural outputs related to these changes are increased comfort, relaxation, pleasantness, vigour and alertness, and reduced symptoms of arousal, anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion .
You’d think you’ve already used all your muscles from lifting weights and running on a treadmill? Wait till you get an hour of a Reformer Pilates workout. All those intrinsic muscles buried deep — those muscles you didn’t even know existed, you’ll finally put them to use.
Even if you’re an elderly, you might see Reformer Pilates as your best friend. Based on a 2014 study, a combination of strength and endurance training in moderate to high intensity is the most effective way to improve neuromuscular and cardiorespiratory functions in the elderly.
Additionally, the researchers suggested that exercises that include muscle power training should be prescribed to frail elderly to improve overall physical health and prevent disability .
Range of motion is everything. Not only does Reformer Pilates help you develop strength, but it also involves a lot of stretching which helps increase your flexibility. This is why many athletes love this workout. A combination of strength and flexibility enables them to withstand physical stress and it rids their body of muscle imbalances which in turn reduces their likelihood of injury.
According to a 2012 study, all types of stretching are effective. However, its benefits vary to different people . The great thing about Reformer Pilates is its exercises are customisable according to your goals. This is why whether you’re looking to tone up your body or you need rehabilitation from your injury, Reformer Pilates, comes out the best among all other options.
Overall, Reformer Pilates is capable of transforming you physically and mentally. Even if your body is functioning well and you’re feeling good, once you step on a Reformer, who knows your life may get a lot better? Would it be amazing to live healthier and happier? Doesn’t it feel great to know you’re capable of doing of what you once thought was impossible?
Break through your limitations. Book a Reformer Pilates class with us. It might change your life!
- Keng SL, Smoski MJ, Robins CJ. Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: a review of empirical studies. Clin Psychol Rev. 2011;31(6):1041–1056. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.006
- Ma X, Yue ZQ, Gong ZQ, et al. The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. Front Psychol. 2017;8:874. Published 2017 Jun 6. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00874
- Zaccaro A, Piarulli A, Laurino M, et al. How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing. Front Hum Neurosci. 2018;12:353. Published 2018 Sep 7. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2018.00353
- Cadore EL, Pinto RS, Bottaro M, Izquierdo M. Strength and endurance training prescription in healthy and frail elderly. Aging Dis. 2014;5(3):183–195. Published 2014 Jun 1. doi:10.14336/AD.2014.0500183
- Page P. Current concepts in muscle stretching for exercise and rehabilitation. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012;7(1):109–119.