When it comes to Pilates, most women either are die-hard enthusiasts or have never stepped foot in a Pilates studio. Are you in the latter group? Tons of research on the benefits of Pilates would suggest you switch camps. Here are some reasons why women should try Pilates.
It's Ah-Mazing for your Abs
Pilates hits your core (or, in Pilates speak, your "powerhouse") unlike any other workout. In fact, after completing 36 weeks of Pilates training, women strengthened their rectus abdominis (the muscle responsible for six-packs) by an average of 21 percent, while eliminating muscle imbalances between the right and left sides of their cores, according to a Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise study.
Pilates can ease back pain
A stronger core equals a better back, says Tracy Zindell, Flex Pilates Chicago founder and master instructor. That's why those with chronic lower back pain who practiced Pilates for just four weeks experienced more relief than those who visited a physician and other specialists, says a Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy study. What's more, their pain stayed away for a full year post-Pilates. Researchers believe that by stabilizing the core's lumbar-pelvic (lower-back) region, Pilates alleviates stress on the area and ups mobility.
It is easy on your joints
Pilates' slow and controlled movements puts minimal impact on your joints. Bonus if you're using the Pilates reformer: "The padding on a Pilates reformer is as thick as 10 yoga mats," says Zindell. "It takes the pressure off of your back and knees."
Pilates hones your focus
Pilates urges you to focus on 1) your breath, 2) your body, and 3) how they move together. It takes a lot of concentration, says Zindell. "You can't zone out." That means you're forced to forget about work, bills, boyfriends, and other drama for a full hour. Ahh.
It Improves Sports Performance
"When you start focusing on your core, you realize that all of your muscles are connected through your core. Try doing lunges without your abdominals. You'll crumble over," says Zindel, who has trained everyday athletes and professional ones including Chicago Bulls player Joakim Noah. "With a stronger core, you can run faster, your yoga is on point, and overall, the rest of your workouts improve," she says. Plus, by working in small groups or one-on-one with a Pilates instructor, you can learn moves that mimic and improve performance in your sport of choice.
It makes you more flexible
"I always hear people saying, 'I've never been flexible, I can't do Pilates.' But that's why they should be doing it," Zindell says. In one Brazilian study, when young women (without any prior Pilates experience) performed 20 Pilates sessions, they became 19.1 percent more flexible. When you're tight, you shorten your muscle and limit your body's range of motion, she says. At best, that can hurt your exercise performance. At worst, it can cause injury.
It Boosts your Brainpower
Joseph Pilates called his workout method "the thinking man's exercise." It could very well be. When Chinese researchers measured changes in women's brain activity after 10 weeks of Pilates training, they found an increase in the brain's alpha peak power, which is related to neural network activity, memory performance, and other cognitive functions. Researchers believe Pilates may even hold potential as a treatment option for people with brain-degenerative diseases and cognitive dysfunctions.
Think no further, try out our affordable Private Pilates classes where you have the luxury of having 1-1 quality classes at your home!
How to stay fit despite a busy work schedule
We know that most people have a very busy schedule in Singapore. We have one of the longest working hours in the world, and working so long is bound to give you health problems.
We also know it is not easy to take time out to go to the gym or head for fitness classes, so we came up with 6 quick tips for you to stay relatively fit.
Here are some 6 ways we know that you can keep fit even if you have with a busy office job:
1. Assess your current abilities and choose the right program
You want to stay fit even with a busy workload. However, your goal has no meaning if you do not account for the starting point. Assess your current physical abilities and then plot your workout routine to fit your goals.
Choose the correct type of class that offers you the time flexibility and focus on the type of lessons that meet your specific goals. This is so you get the most concentrated results without wasting too much time.
2. Focus on working out efficiently
Choose a workout routine that you can do almost anywhere. It should be a form of exercise that does not require much in terms of preparation or equipment. Make sure when you start the exercise, you give yourself a time limit - say 1 hour - and you aim to put in all your energy into that 1 hour.
It should be a workout routine that aims at accomplishing substantial physical gains in a short time. Some examples are high-intensity interval training or bodyweight exercises.
3. Make a schedule that you stick with
The most common excuse we hear for not working out that usually goes something like this: “I had too much to do today that I just couldn’t fit my 5 minute quick workout session.” That is just not cool.
To stay fit with busy work you need a dedicated schedule that you stick to week in and week out.
Working out is a long-term, high-rewards deal. You have to put in the work consistently for life, to reap the benefits. So, make a schedule and keep to it because you know that staying fit is a top priority for a healthy future.
4. Simple exercises to do at the desk
If you are REALLY devoid of free time, what you can try are some simple exercises that you can near at or at your desk.
• Stair master: Take the stairs. Avoid the elevators.
• Wall sit: This is great for building strength and endurance. To do it stand with your back against the wall, bend your-knees and slide-your back down-the wall until you're sitting on midair. Try to get your thighs to be parallel to-the floor. Hold this position for 30 – 60 seconds, maybe while reading a magazine. To go up a level, cross your left ankle over your right knee for 15 seconds. Now switch.
• Fist Pump: Did I hear someone say that you are getting a bonus this month? Fist pump into the air like the champion that you are!!! Seriously though, punch your fists toward the ceiling for 2 minutes.
• Shoulder shrug: Raise your shoulders up towards your ears, hold for 5 seconds and relax. Do this 15 times or reps. Try the advanced method and hold heavy books or paper reams in each hand while you shoulder shrug.
• Perfect your posture: Adjust your chair height. Make sure that your feet, arms and hips are at a 90 degree angle to the floor. This will engage the core of your body. Keep your back straight through the day. Do not slouch. Ever.
5. Have a good diet
A healthy diet is essential to keeping fit. Exercise can only do so much to help you attain a healthy lifestyle.
• Make sure to eat breakfast.
• Stay off excess coffee. Too much coffee can have bad effects on your liver.
• Drink more water.
• Eat whole foods, and not junk food.
• Limit how much alcohol you drink
• Carry healthy snacks with you. Pieces of fruit and such are great energy boosters.
• Don’t get stuffed when you eat. Don’t overeat. It slows your digestion down and tires you out.
• Avoid eating late. This stresses your body. Your metabolism is slowed after 8pm. You don’t want to be overworking your already tired body when you should be resting.
• Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Eat 3 servings of fruit a day.
6. Work with a personal home fitness instructor
And we’re here at our favorite piece of advice. It’s a sure fact that bringing a personal trainer into your life is a sound decision. Having a dedicated fitness trainer to back you up in achieving your fitness goals is a smart-workout strategy. We’ll support you in assessing your abilities and come up with a relevant workout plan.
We also guide you through overcoming emotional & physical roadblocks, thus getting you the real results much faster than any of the above tips. You'll get all the motivation you need.
Some useful tips to keep in mind are that you and your trainer are going to be spending a lot of time together, so you should try your utmost best to find someone who has the right skills and rapport with you. Also, you have to be ready to do your share of the work when it comes to actually working out.
One major benefit of working with Fitness LX personal fitness trainers and yoga instructors is that we are able to customize and personalize training packages to suit you. To maximise this advantage, make sure you discuss these 8 things with your fitness trainer before you start training!
1. Major goals you want to attain
For a start, it is important to inform us about the goals you want to attain. We have met many people with a wide range of goals. This is because each person has specific goals they want to meet.
It is by the knowledge of the goals that we will give you instructions and guide you in ways that will help you attain them. For instance, if your major goal is to lose weight or build more muscles, you need to inform us. We have ample knowledge on how to help each person attain the set goals in an effective manner.
2. Medical history
It can be dangerous if you start doing the training without informing us of your health history. It is important you inform us of any chronic health condition you suffer. You should also tell us if you have any type of medications that you usually take.
In addition, it is also advisable you inform us of any other diseases you might have been diagnosed that might affect your training. Any good personal fitness trainer will be able to come up with a training plan that is personalized to meet your needs according to your health status.
3. Tell us what you like doing during the training
It is worth noting that it is you who will be doing the training, and not us. Therefore, it is important that we give you an opportunity to do what you enjoy doing as you train. Inform the trainer of the things you enjoy doing in your fitness class.
By discussing what you liked with your trainer, it will be possible for us to come up with a more customized training program that fits your specific likes. Enjoying your lessons more will help with motivation to continue.
4. Inform us of any injuries you have or suffered before
You need to tell our personal trainer of injuries you have or suffered before. In case there is an injury that keeps on bothering you, let us know. This will ensure that we do not make you perform exercises that will aggravate the problem.
Since we have the right knowledge, we will even instruct you on strength work that will ensure that the injury does not recur again. We also get professional advice on the best practices that will help you avoid suffering from injuries as you do the training.
5. Your work schedule
It is important as home trainers, we understand your work schedule. This will help in developing a training program that suits your schedule. We will know when you have a more demanding or intense schedule, thus scale down your training regime.
When you do not have a more intense schedule, we will be able to scale up your training. All these will ensure that you do not get strained or overworked leading to fatigue that will hinder attainment of your set goals.
6. Your preferred area of focus
You might want to undergo our training program with special focus on some parts of your body. For instance, you can do the workouts that can reduce belly fat or gain more muscles.
Since we do not know your area of focus, it is advisable you inform us, so that we come up with training techniques to help you attain the objectives you have regarding those areas. We have ample knowledge on the best training that will help you get the best results.
7. Your past success and failures
It is vital you inform us of the success you have made and where you have failed. Tell us some of the reasons that made you succeed and also reasons for the failures.
This is necessary so that our trainer can understand how to create a training program that will ensure that you only succeed and avoid failure or disappointment. We will know how to keep you motivated throughout to boost your success rate.
When you begin your training program, you must have a timeline set to have attained some of your goals. You will need to share this with us, so that we come up with strategies that will ensure you can attain the goals within this timeline. We will also advice you if the timeline you have set is realistic or not.
Are you ready to start getting fit? Now that you know how to get the best out of working with personal trainers, make sure you communicate well us.