Teacher | Blogger | Mom
Moms are often reminded of the importance of staying active for cardiovascular fitness, weight maintenance and increased flexibility and strength, but a recent study has shown that there is an additional reason to exercise: our kids! A study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that the less physically active a mother is, the more likely her kids will be sedentary too. If you are keen to get back into shape after having a baby or you’d love to be a role model for your kids, why not choose Pilates? Numerous studies have shown that it is an excellent way to hone your strength and flexibility but also burn calories and boost your mental health.
Pilates vs. Stress
In nearly half of all two-parent families today, both parents work full-time. The New York Times notes that many parents are “stressed, tired, and rushed.” Stress is not only unpleasant to deal with from a psychological point of view; it is also intricately tied in to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. It is additionally a trigger for anxiety and depression, which is why scientists are constantly on the lookout for natural ways to keep stress at bay. Studies have shown that although exercise in general is great for lowering levels of stress hormone, cortisol, some of the most effective activities for this purpose, are mindfulness-based practises such as yoga, meditation, and Pilates. One important study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that these three activities are helpful in curbing physical, mental, and emotional stress, because they affect the brain cortex, which helps keep the ‘fight or flight response’ in check. Many practitioners describe Pilates is a particularly effective mindful exercise in which one has to be immensely focused in order to perform exercises correctly.
Strengthening the Core
The essence of Pilates is centered around the core. People often mistake the ‘core’ as comprising only the abdominal muscles when in fact it also includes the muscles in the back and buttocks. If you are keen on achieving a tight, taut tummy, Pilates will help you achieve it. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that 36 weeks of Pilates training lead to a 21% increase in the strength of the rectus abdominis muscle in a group of women, and also promoted greater balance between the right and left sides of the core. Having a firm core is key for stability and balance; it also enables you to shine at other sports, by giving your body the strong foundation it needs for a plethora of movements.
Pilates Helps Keep You Trim
If weight loss is on the mind, the usual recommended workout regime involves daily aerobics and strength (weights) training at least a couple of times a week. Factor Pilates into your calorie burning program and burn up to 450 calories in a session (beginners burn less, around 250 per session). By no means give up energetic aerobics sessions, but do use Pilates as a complementary activity that will help reduce injuries from falls and loss of balance, regardless of the sport you are carrying out.
What is a Pilates Session Like?
In Pilates, guidance from a professional trained in the Pilates Method is key. Usually, the class will consist of exercises on a map as well as on a reformer: a machine that helps you maintain specific postures and strengthen muscles in a very precise way. If you are starting out in Pilates, opt for studios or gyms that have a reformer; most people class this machine as the most fun you’ll have, but also credit it for more impressive results than those achieved by the mat alone.
In this post we have mentioned just a few reasons why Pilates is a perfect match for moms but in reality, it can be practiced by everyone. Pilates classes for kids focus on key areas like motor skills and coordination, so ideally, find a studio that will hone your kids’ abilities as well as your own. Pilates soothes stress, eases lower back pain, is gentle on the joints, and can be practiced by people of all ages. It is also a great way to stay focused on your mind and body for one fabulous hour – a treat that way too many moms give themselves on a daily or even weekly basis.
About Jane Sandwood
Jane has been a freelance writer and editor for over 10 years. She has written for both digital and print across a wide variety of fields. Her main interest is exploring how people can improve their health and well being in their everyday life. And when she isn’t writing, Jane can often be found with her nose in a good book, at the gym or just spending quality time with her family.