Pilates Your Way to Mental and Physical Health

Pilates Your Way to Mental and Physical Health

Joseph Pilates knew, early in his life, that mental and physical health is intertwined. This principle was infused into the minds and bodies of every German student during their gymnasium years. In later life, learned that certain exercises could cure illness—especially those linked to excess body weight or atrophy. During that era, however, physical exercise for the masses was limited to labor and to the folk dances or games common to German culture.  Specialized physical training was only available for military personnel or those recovering from surgical procedures. Both military and medical exercise systems were based on principles developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans.  They were never intended to serve the masses of industrial workers that emerged in the 19th Century. But Pilates saw no reason why the benefits of specialized physical training should not be brought to the general public of his era.

Like the body builders of today, Pilates focused his training exercises on major muscles groups. He studied the functions of these muscles by observing their activity using slow, intentional movements. From these observations he prepared simple but precise instructions for exercising each muscle group. Not only did those who followed his regimen become physically stronger; their improved metabolism increased their mental ability and gave them a positive outlook on life.

Today, Pilates for weight loss is an established part of every professional weight control regimen. The basic principles espoused by Pilates make people aware of their bodies and teaches them how to care for their mind and body through physical exercise and healthy food choices. These principles emphasize 5 ways to practice Pilates for weight loss.

The 5 Principles of Pilates

The first principle is that fat does not burn calories; body muscles burn calories preventing them from turning to fatty tissue. The Pilates regimen is pure and simple strength training. Body strength comes from muscle tissue. Muscle tissue increases as a result of resistance. This resistance can come from body motion like sit-ups or from springs and weights. Regardless of what provides the resistance, building lean muscle mass improves metabolism. An efficient metabolism is essential for a healthy mind in a healthy body.

The second principle is that good posture is the keystone of body weight distribution. Even an underweight person will look overweight if all of the weight is centered around the waist and hips.  The Pilates regimen must be performed with correct body alignment and posture. This promotes optimum alignment of the spine and that alignment brings better circulation and increased stamina.

The third principle is to use your front and side abdominals correctly. How many of us were told by our Physical Education teachers: “chest out, stomach in” That basic tip for building core strength is right from the notes of Joseph Pilates. Your core muscle group includes front and side abdominals plus your back.  Toned abdominals and a strong back bring improved posture, less chance of  lower back pain and improved bowel function.

The fourth principle is respect for your body. When you feel more confident you are less likely to deface your body with bad eating habits. Good-by and good riddance to deadly “comfort foods” that will quickly turn your hard-earned muscle back to flab and fatty tissue. With the guidance of the Pilates regimen you will load your kitchen with healthy food such as fresh vegetables, unprocessed grains and fresh meats. You will never again feel guilty for breaking your diet because you will not be dieting. You will be eating healthy meals as a way of life.

The last principle is essential to get the full benefit of using Pilates for weight loss. If strength training is the foundation of Pilates for weight loss; cardio workouts build that stronger and smarter body you want to maintain over the long haul. The best part is that cardio workouts do not require any special equipment or gym apparatus. Walking, swimming, jogging, and bi-cycling each provide excellent cardio workouts with little or no cash investment required.

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