The Rise of Pilates: Everything You Need to Know
Move over cycle studios– pilates is the new ‘fitness it girl’. As SZA sang in her most recent album, “I wanted to be thick now I wanna be thin, heard pilates was in”. As clothing trends change, so do body image trends, and fitness trends. Lately, Pilates has become the new fixation in pop culture, promising ‘long lean muscle’.
So how did we get here? What are the true benefits of pilates? And should you be including it in your fitness routine? Let’s Discuss.
WHAT IS PILATES?
Pilates has been performed by athletes and individuals for over 100 years. It was designed to improve flexibility, strengthen muscles, and increase body awareness. Joseph Pilates, the inventor of Pilates, took inspiration from gymnastics and boxing training.
Some of the first groups of people to adopt this form of exercise were soldiers returning from war, as well as dancers.
Now, Pilates is aimed toward people of all ages and backgrounds. Its bodyweight and stretching nature make it a low impact, low intensity exercise for people with limitations.
Pilates can be performed with just bodyweight or a few simple pieces of equipment, or resistance and challenge can be added using a reformer. (A rerformer is the torture-esque looking machine with straps and springs and a sliding board).
THE RISE IN POPULARITY
So how did we go from soldiers in the 1920’s, to fitness influencers, celebs, and the general public being followers of Pilates in the 2020’s?
Before 2020, the ‘it’ thing in the fitness industry was high intensity group classes like SoulCycle, OrangeTheory, Barrys, and Crossfit gyms. The popularity of these sweat inducing, calorie burning classes made Pilates look less appealing, and less effective.
However, people began needing a break on their bodies from the strenuous high intensity exercise classes they were accustomed to. It also didn’t hurt that Pilates promised stress relief and relaxation at a time when many were over stressed and working from home.
In 2021, Forma Pilates became the hot spot to photograph celebrities such as Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Ariana Grande, Ashley Graham, Ariana Grande, and more as they were leaving their Pilates workouts.
It’s no secret that these women have amazing physiques and a lot of influence so the world instantly wanted in on Pilates.
Pilates has also been featured numerous times on the Kardashian’s reality shows, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and The Kardashians on Hulu. The Kardashian family has long held the beauty standard for women, and as they change their bodies, or share a new workout routine, the world is quick to take note.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PILATES?
Besides the allure of doing as the stars do, pilates has tons of health benefits. Let’s break down some of the reasons why it might be worth adding pilates into your wellness routine.
PILATES IMPROVES POSTURE
Posture is another major benefit to Pilates. There is a major emphasis on proper alignment, core strength and body awareness which improves weak and unbalanced muscles. Pilates has long been thought to ‘lengthen” the body which comes from improved posture, a straighter spine, and increased flexibility.
PILATES STRENGTHENS THE CORE
Pilates is known for its core strengthening. Within each of the over 600 exercise variations, the core muscles are required to stabilize and support the body. The stronger your core is the less hip pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, and back pain you will feel as a result.
PILATES IMPROVES MOBILITY
In addition to increasing flexibility, pilates also improves mobility. Mobility is often mistaken as flexibility, but mobility actually refers to the range of motion and functionality of a joint. By moving through exercises in a slow and controlled way, pilates strengthens, and stretches the muscles, making mobility better.
PILATES BOOSTS MOOD AND MINDFULNESS
Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates to incorporate “body, mind and spirit”. In turn, the slow controlled nature of pilates allows you to focus on the position of your whole body.
Bringing attention to your body, allows your mind to remain in the present and decrease anxiety. The six key principles of pilates are centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow.
Many people find the strain of HIIT workouts, and most group exercise to be too strenuous. Especially in the older populations or those with limitations. Most high intensity exercise raises cortisol, or stress hormone in the body, whereas pilates can have a calming and de-stressing effect.
PILATES AND WEIGHT LOSS
Pilates, like any regularly practiced exercise, will aid in weight loss. However, the primary driver of weight loss is the decrease consumption of calories, called a calorie deficit.
Incorporating pilates into a weight loss routine will help you to maintain and/or build muscle while losing weight. For best results, combine pilates with a balanced diet and aerobic exercise.
BEFORE YOU GO…
Pilates is an excellent form of exercise for anyone looking for a low impact resistance workout. It has numerous physical and mental benefits. For more content around fitness, entrepreneurship, and health check out the Blog section of GymOwners.com.