Oftentimes workouts at home tend to focus on aerobic and strength training exercises in order to improve physical conditioning, and there is no doubt that such a program can be effective for many. But another key ingredient of physical health can go unnoticed if you aren't careful and that is flexibility of the muscle groups of your body. Strong muscles that aren't flexible can be prone to injury, so pilates exercises help round out a good home fitness exercise routine.
In case you are wondering what pilates is, it's a system of strengthening the mind and body through a set of movements that emphasize proper breathing and posture. It was initially developed by Joseph Pilates almost 70 years ago to help him overcome some persistent childhood sicknesses. It worked so well that he began to teach others his system for personal exercises using body resistance. As others began to see benefits the word spread and now pilates has millions of adherents and practitioners who use it regularly to stay in shape.
When using a home gym you tend to focus on certain muscle groups and target them to the exclusion of others. There is nothing wrong with this but inserting some pilates movements into your daily workout routine can help make sure that all your muscles get the attention they need. It also helps insure that the muscles that you are building also retain a good measure of flexibility rather than just size alone. As we age flexibility becomes much more critical and so pilates works especially well in this area for people who are middle-aged and up.
If you want to build big muscles, pilates will not accomplish that goal. However, large muscles can make one susceptible to injury if they don't get the proper conditioning, so pilates exercises can even help the bodybuilding folks if it is used in addition to their muscle workouts. It helps elongate muscles instead of just build them up and places an emphasis on body movement and position. This leads to graceful body movement, and reduces sports injuries.
Pilates focuses on building a strong core in the stomach and back of the individual and so it has also been known to be very effective for patients that have lower back pain problems. Oftentimes, these back pain issues are aggravated by some muscles not being as strong as they should be and causing other muscles to be overworked as a result. Since pilates is so low impact and is usually done in lying or sitting positions it is also usually a very safe exercise to perform, but as always it is good to get a doctor's approval before you begin any new exercise routine.
If you have been using traditional exercise equipment in your home fitness workouts, maybe it's time to consider adding in a pilates exercise routine as well. To get started you can buy books and DVDs that can help you learn many basic pilates movements or you can also attend classes and be taught by a good instructor how to set up a pilates routine that will be best for you.
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