Why do pilates?

Wellness and working out have been a huge part of my life since i can remember. I’ve done every exercise class that was all the rage. Walking, running, slinging weights for an hour.  Biking, swimming, dancing, you name it….i’ve tried it.  Our bodies are designed to move so in order to be healthy we must be moving. But then…..i had an injury to my leg and all those things that were so easy for me to do became a struggle. Just walking was painful. Standing, certain ways i move feel like a knife is stabbing me and twisting till it’s unbearable. I would push myself until my leg was so swollen i could’nt do anything else but elevate it for the next few hours. It is very depressing for someone who has always excercised. My background is: I grew up with a role model, Jack Lalanne. He’s always been a good one. He demonstrated how exercise could transform us. But, his entire life showed more than that. It showed us that if we adopt a wellness lifestyle, we would be ahead of the game, by living a life of health and vitality. He certainly had. “Exercise is king, nutrition is queen — put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.”– Jack LaLanne

 

I am a regular, ordinary person who loves life and wants to be the best I can be at whatever my age. I know that if you are sick your focus is on getting well. But, if you are well and vital you can choose anything in the world you want-and work towards it. You can have fun and enjoy your life. One of the benefits I see in Pilates is that I can continue doing it even though I am now in my 40’s, whereas some of the other forms of exercise, such as high level aerobics, hard running, etc. are not too good for older joints.

Pilates is unique in that it changes your body shape without necessarily affecting your weight significantly.

I first started a pilates regimen into my weekly workout routine to tone and strengthen my body. I had a couple of spots that I wanted to look more… firm. Because I didn’t have any time to add in more aerobic activity, the only change I made was to add pilates.

I noticed, after about a month, that my clothes started to fit differently. My pants were a little looser in the waistband and thigh area and my arms were more toned. I was a little mystified to see that my weight on the scale remained the same. When I returned home to visit family my greeting was quickly followed by “Have you lost weight?”

Though I could only feel a slight difference that my at-home pilates regimen was making, others could tell a large difference. When I informed people that the only change I made was the addition of pilates (not any more exercise or diet) they continued to comment on how long and lean I looked.

Though I originally tried pilates for an alternate reason than losing weight I didn’t mind the flattering comments!

How To Lose Weight

Simple. You need to burn more calories than you consume.

A six month long study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (Redman, et.al., Effects of Calorie Restriction…, confirmed that weight loss is based on calories. Your caloric intake needs to be less than your calories exerted.

It IS possible to consume less calories than you are exerting WITHOUT exercise, but it gets pretty difficult – especially with the availability of fast food and trendy high sugar coffee drinks – and can also be unsafe.

Exercising has a whole slew of other added benefits that you want to reap as well!

Why Exercise?

Exercise is divided into two different groups: aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

  • Aerobic exercise is moderate exercise performed for a long duration of time.
  • Anaerobic exercise is used to build power and/or muscle mass. These muscles generally have a greater performance under a short duration/high intensity situation.

Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise has numerous benefits, besides helping maximize the caloric output to increase weight loss or weight maintenance.

  • Strengthens the respiratory muscles
  • Strengthens the heart muscles
  • Tones muscles in the body
  • Improves overall circulation
  • Reduces Blood Pressure
  • Boosts immune system
  • Boosts Mood, and more!

Some say aerobic exercise is better (for weight loss) than anaerobic and vice versa – but the key is to make your caloric intake less than you caloric output. How you achieve that is solely up to you.

Calories Burned: Pilates Exercise vs. Other Exercise

General Exercise

The Mayo Clinic conducted a study using several hundred people, weighing around 145 pounds, to find the calories burned during one hour of various forms of exercise. The results were as follows:  The Mayo Clinic seems to have updated their study and no longer use a 145 pound person, if you are checking the study.)

  • Aerobic Dancing 416
  • Backpacking 448
  • Badminton 288
  • Bicycling (outdoor) 512
  • Bicycling (stationary) 448
  • Bowling 192
  • Canoeing 224
  • Dancing 288
  • Gardening 256
  • Golfing 288
  • Hiking 384
  • Jogging (5 mph) 512
  • Racquetball 448
  • Rope Jumping 640
  • Running (8 mph) 864
  • Skating 448
  • Skiing (cross-country) 512
  • Skiing (downhill) 384
  • Stair Climbing 576
  • Swimming 384
  • Tennis 448
  • Volleyball 192
  • Walking (2 mph) 160
  • Walking (3.5 mph) 243

Pilates Exercise

On SELF.com, which I found to be the most thorough source, I found the following information for a 145 lb person doing pilates for one hour:

  • Beginner level pilates 241 calories
  • Intermediate level pilates 338
  • Advanced level pilates 421

If I plugged in someone who weighed less than 170 lbs, the amount of calories burned was less.

Pilates and Exercise: The Answer

Someone doing a regular form of exercise like jogging (512 calories burned) would still need to watch what they eat because a Big Mac with cheese is 740 calories! This is a similar situation in pilates.
When pilates is compared to the general exercise list – the calories burned is in between both extremes. It IS possible to lose weight while using pilates as a source of exercise – but you have to watch how many calories you ingest.

To put it bluntly – if you are only doing an hour of pilates exercise each day (and no other exercise) and you wanted to lose weight, you would really need to count your calories. Remember the formula – calories exerted needs to be greater that calories ingested, for weight loss. Not many people eat less than 338 calories a day, which is the amount of calories you will burn in an intermediate level mat workout.

Personally, if I were ONLY looking to lose weight I would not recommend pilates because it is simply not the most efficient way to lose weight. In a day and age where time somehow equals money – efficiency (and effectiveness) is key.

Mt husband has tried doing pilates with me and he can’t do it. You may think it’s easy but it’s tough but rewarding. This is what pilates does for me:

  • Improved posture
  • Full body tone
  • Relieved back pain
  • Increased joint mobility and control
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved sports performance
  • Off season conditioning, and more!

Pilates and Extraordinary Effects on the Body

  • Pilates does change the shape of your body – clothes fit differently
  • Pilates tightens your waistline even if no weight is lost on the scale
  • Pilates builds muscle without bulk and improves posture – makes you seem taller and slimmer
  • Pilates tones all of your muscles because each exercise is a full body workout – makes your body something to brag about
  • Paired with the right program, pilates will help those pounds drop off.

If you want to strengthen your core, tone your body, and just let the stresses of the day go. You should try pilates. It has been really good for my body and my mind.

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