We all know that regular exercise is good for our health. But can your weekly Pilates class really make you look and feel younger?
Let’s check in with the proprietor of Winsor Pilates, Mari Winsor. Gorgeous, vibrant and fit, Mari is more than 60 years young.
“Whoever said 60 was the new 30 must have been high,” jokes Mari. “Although we can always work on our exterior and put injections into our face, the inside does not lie. As you age there is that feeling of falling apart, but for me Pilates is the glue that that keeps my mind and body in harmony. All kidding aside, it just goes by too fast.”
Now is the time to look and feel your best, no matter what age you are. Here are 10 ways Pilates helps makes you feel younger…
1. Body Awareness
No matter where you work out – in a class full of people, or in the privacy of your own home – Pilates is all about embracing and becoming aware of your body, including your joints, muscles, ligaments, breathing, etc. Your whole body is in tune with itself when you are moving, twisting, and bending. If you go from cubicle to couch, you are not experiencing the body’s beautiful fluidity and natural form. Pilates allows you to love your body at any age.
Posture and poise are certainly signs of youth. An elongated body, shoulders back and chin held high definitely emits an air of confidence. Pilates expert Jillian Hessel explains, “Pilates can be a wonderful solution to all these poor postural habits because the exercises encourage bilateral, even muscle development and flexibility at the same time. A good Pilates workout doesn’t have to be long or exhausting — but it can and will rebalance your body over time.”
3. Strength, Stamina, And Balance
Strength, stamina, and balance are all associated with being youthful. As you age, you want to have the strength to play tennis, ride a bicycle, swim in the ocean, or even just carry your groceries with ease. Age should never limit your ability to say fit and flexible. SparkPeople blogger and certified Pilates expert Nicole Nichols says, “Pilates is definitely a good way to begin strengthening your body if weight training intimidates you. If you are completely opposed to doing strength training, or can’t for some health or medical reason, you will still see some strength benefits from a Pilates-based fitness program.”
4. Better Breathing
Taking deep, intentional breaths is a stepping stone to good health. Proper breathing techniques relieve stress, anxiety, tension, and so much more. Pilates, like yoga, is all about inhaling and exhaling on cue. The timing of each breath matters. As you breathe deeply, circulation increases and oxygen is released throughout the body, renewing and rejuvenating youthfulness.
5. Relieve Stress, Tension, And Pain
As we grow older, stress and tension can equal pain. Sore joints and achy muscles are not a sign of youth. Through breathing and intentional movement, Pilates can relieve stress and tension. Pilates has also been known to relieve the pain of sciatica and the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
6. Enhance Agility
Flexibility and agility are associated with feeling young and vibrant. Pilates elongates and moves muscle groups so that you are limber. The saying goes, if you don’t move, you can’t move. Experience Pilates to enjoy greater flexibility and agility.
7. Lean Muscle
Want a flat, lean, youthful-looking stomach? Try Pilates’ Pelvic Curl. With dedication and consistency, Pilates will give you a rockin’ body. Try this 8-minute Pilates workout for a leaner, more youthful look.
8. Injury Conditioning
When you are flexible, your joints, tendons, and muscles are less likely to succumb to injury. Training & Conditioning.com reports that Pilates as part of a football team’s effort to avoid injury was successful, “Overall, we felt the Pilates program provided an additional platform to assist football players in preventing injuries and increasing agility. These exercises are time efficient and require no additional equipment. Pilates exercises are a very simple way for teams to gain the edge they desire.”
9. Enhanced Sleep
At the end of the day, we all want to crawl between the sheets for a peaceful night’s sleep. We are designed to sleep and we know that people who sleep better are more youthful. Sleep helps us to renew after a hard day of work and play. Through breathing and intentional movement, Pilates helps us to relax, and when we are relaxed, we can sleep better. Getting enough sleep is absolutely essential for looking refreshed, and feeling energetic and youthful.
10. A Sense Of Purpose
Attending a Pilates class can enhance your life in so many ways. The camaraderie and encouragement alone is worth it for many people, let alone all the benefits of getting physically fit. Many people find that the routine of working out with friends brings purpose to our lives and keeps us young.
All that being said, Pilates is not for everyone. If you suffer from extreme back pain or significant lack of stamina, consult with your physician before beginning Pilates.
No matter what kind of exercise you like to do, just keep moving — staying active allows us to feel vibrant and alive and keeps us feeling young.