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Pilates vs. Tai Chi

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Pilates vs. Tai Chi

We all have our personal preferences. These preferences are reflected in the choices we make, and the way we choose to achieve our goals and targets. Some people prefer energetic, fast-paced fitness programs such as Zumba Fitness or Aerobics, while others feel at home in a peaceful and gentle Tai Chi or Pilates class. Identifying the broad type of fitness program that you want to sign up for is the easy part. Choosing which subcategory to go for is where the decision becomes tricky!

Both Tai Chi and Pilates have been derived from the same fitness philosophy. Read on to find out whether Tai Chi benefits trump Pilate’s benefits, and which one is more suited to your taste!

Exploring the Commonalities

Tai Chi and Pilates are from the same category of fitness programs: calisthenics. Calisthenics are free-body exercises designed to improve flexibility, overall physical well-being, agility, balance and stability, muscular tone, core strength, and the ability to control your body smoothly and gracefully.

Given that the focus of both Tai Chi and Pilates rests on similar grounds, the end result of following any one of the exercises is almost identical. Practitioners of Pilates & Tai Chi will claim to sport a slim, lean figure with taut, well-toned muscles. The differences lie in the details and the execution of the idea behind calisthenics.

Let’s get in Shape, the Pilates way!

Joseph Pilates, founder of the Pilates movement, understood the importance of gaining mastery of your bodily movements. For him, the first rung in the ladder of happiness was reserved for physical fitness and well-being! His brain-child, Pilates, does more than just cater to the desire for well-toned muscles and a lean body. In his own words, "Pilates develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit."   

Pilate’s benefits are numerous, encompassing both physical well-being and emotional contentment.

Physical Benefits of Pilates

According to experts at Mayo Clinic, practicing Pilates regularly can result in the following Pilate’s benefits:

  1. Improved Posture.
  2. Better spinal mobility and flexibility.
  3. Development of muscular tone and flexibility.
  4. Strong, efficient and supportive core.
  5. Improved mobility and development of strong muscles leads to improved health of joints.
  6. Improved body balance and stability.
  7. Prevention and alleviation of back pain.
  8. Can help in the alleviation of numerous medical conditions including osteoporosis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and scoliosis.
  9. Reduced risk of injuries.
  10. A safe form of exercise for ante-natal and post-natal women.
  11. Improved blood circulation, improved bone density, and better lung functioning.

Emotional Benefits of Pilates

Pilates aims to improve the overall emotional and mental well-being of its practitioners by providing the following Pilate’s benefits:

  1. Dissipates stress, anxiety and tension.
  2. Promotes feelings of self-confidence and self-worth.
  3. Boosts personal body awareness.
  4. Improves mind-body coordination.
  5. Makes you feel content, calm, and in control.

Improved Fitness and Health With Tai Chi!

Tai Chi originated in China as a form of Martial Arts. Given its background, you might imagine Tai Chi to be intense, grueling and designed to challenge your physical capabilities like never before! On the contrary, modern day Tai Chi is gentle, repetitive, smooth, and slow-paced. It is often referred to as ‘meditation in motion’ but according to experts at the Harvard Medical School, it could accurately be described as ‘medicine in motion’!

According to Peter M. Wayne, director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical Center, Tai Chi has the potential to be approved as an additional form of medical therapy for several age-related and other health complications.

The Benefits of Tai Chi

Let’s take a look at the Tai Chi benefits you can gain by regularly practicing this exercise form!

  1. Alleviates pain and stiffness.
  2. Improves body balance and stability.
  3. Improves flexibility and mobility.
  4. Improves quality of sleep.
  5. Promotes personal awareness, and a greater understanding of body movements.
  6. Reduces the risk of sustaining injuries due to poor balance.
  7. Promotes a sense of calmness and contentment. Tai Chi enhances the mind-body connection and promotes inner peace.
  8. Improves core strength and efficiency.
  9. Dissipates stress, tension and anxiety.
  10. It is a safe form of exercise which puts minimal stress on your muscles and joints.

The Verdict!

Now that you have a fair idea of both Pilate’s benefits and Tai Chi benefits, you can make a well-informed decision about which one to choose. The underlying fitness goal of both Tai Chi and Pilates centers of improved body awareness and fostering of a harmonious mind-body connection. Your personal preferences, age, and health condition will help you determine which form of calisthenics is more suited to your liking.

So head out to your local fitness studio and attend one session each of Pilates and Tai Chi. With some hands on experience to supplement all this information, you will know exactly which one to go for!

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