Frequently Asked Questions
Why is posture important?
Proper posture enables you to breathe deeper, increase circulation, and assists with keeping bones and joints in correct alignment minimizing the likely hood of an injury.
"Pull out your gym mat and get ready to do a series of movements that will stabilize and strengthen your core.
The exercises are usually done in a specific order, one right after another. The movements have names, like "The 100," Criss-Cross," the "Elephant," and the "Swan."
The moves may look simple, but they take a lot of precision and control. It's not like doing a bunch of crunches; there's a strong emphasis on technique.
You can do Pilates on an exercise mat, either in a class or at home, using a DVD. Or you can go to a gym or studio that has special equipment, a class, or a trainer who can supervise you.
Pilates classes typically take 45 minutes to an hour, but you can do fewer moves in less time.
You’ll get stronger, more sculpted muscles and gain flexibility. You may also have better posture and a better sense of well-being.
Plan on doing this workout a few days a week, in addition to cardio, since Pilates isn't aerobic.
What Dr. Melinda Ratini Says:
If you are looking to strengthen your abdomen and pelvis as well as maintain good posture, then Pilates is for you. It also has a strong mind/body connection, so you may like it if you enjoy yoga but need a more intense core workout.
Pilates is great for strengthening and toning with a focus your core and for increasing your flexibility. Since it is not designed to be an aerobic activity, don’t forget your cardio!
Pilates involves precise moves and specific breathing techniques. It’s not for you if you prefer a less structured program. It also won’t fit your needs if you are looking for an aerobic workout.
Pilates can be very demanding, so start slowly. Instructors do not have to be licensed, so it’s best to get recommendations before selecting one."
-By Kara Mayer Robinson
How does my posture affect my riding?
Posture is affected by balance, coordination, hand placement, leg placement, and mobility of your pelvis while riding your horse. Having the proper form can increase horse performance and alleviate any discomfort you and your horse may be feeling.
What are the advantages of choosing Pilates?
"People who dance are easy to spot, even offstage. “They’re very aware of their body’s position in space, and they move almost like cats,” says Marie-Louise Bird, a Pilates researcher and post-doctoral research fellow at the University of British Columbia. “But most of us are more like puppy dogs, moving without much attention paid to our posture.”
Luckily, the puppy dogs among us don’t have to go to dance school to get better body awareness. They can just do Pilates.
Ever since Joseph Pilates founded his studio in New York City about a century ago, the training method has focused on strengthening abdominal and trunk muscles—called the “core”—through hundreds of very specific movements. The first Pilates clients were ballet dancers looking for a way to improve their posture and control their movements.
Pilates looks deceptively easy. But the often-tiny movements improve balance and core strength, Bird’s research suggests. Pilates does this in part by reinforcing the bond between mind and muscles, helping people engage the right muscles in the core. This leads to better posture and control over the body’s movements, says Cherie Wells, a senior lecturer in physical therapy at Australia’s Griffith University. Wells’s research has found that the core-strengthening perks of Pilates may also ease pain and improve daily life for people suffering from chronic low-back pain.
Some research has also linked Pilates to better flexibility, trunk stability, injury prevention and athletic performance. (Some former and current NFL players, including Antonio Brown and Martellus Bennett, are fans.)
But it’s easy to do Pilates incorrectly, so if you want to experience all these advantages, good form is essential, Bird says. That requires a good teacher, at least in the beginning. “Results come from a structured class taught by a certified instructor,” says Ann Gibson, an associate professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico, who warns newbies not to assume they can pick up Pilates by looking at a few online pictures or guides. “There needs to be a lot of focus on rolling down or up from the ground, one vertebrae at a time.”
The other unique part of Pilates isn’t physical, but mental. One of the key concepts of Pilates is called “centering,” or understanding that all movements originate in your core. “Like yoga, it’s about breathing and focus and being mindful of your body’s movements,” Gibson says. At least one study has linked Pilates to enhanced mindfulness and something called sensory awareness, which may induce relaxation, mood improvements and stress reduction.
It won’t surprise anyone familiar with the classic “hundred” exercise—a grueling Pilates pose performed for 100 beats—that the practice also does something special to the stomach. “Pilates seems to activate the deeper abdominal muscles more than conventional gym exercises,” says Duncan Critchley, a lecturer and exercise researcher at King’s College London. Research from Spain shows Pilates also eliminates “asymmetries” in the abdominal muscles the line the sides of your torso.
It’s probably not the best workout for those looking for a vigorous sweat, says Wells. Newer forms of the practice use machines to increase resistance and even aerobic intensity—reformer Pilates and jumpboard Pilates are two examples—but they’re less studied than the traditional forms of the exercise.
Look around online and you’ll find plenty of anecdotal evidence that Pilates can help people lose weight or, even more likely, lose inches, but Gibson says her findings were mixed when it came to Pilates’s ability to reduce waist circumference.
But if you’re searching for a mind-body practice that strengthens the body and has a few pleasant side benefits—like great abs and more poise—Pilates is certainly worth a try."
-By MARKHAM HEID
Is Pilates good for me if I have a health condition?
All private sessions are tailored to meet the needs of each client, including health conditions. If you have a current injury or health condition, please check with your doctor prior to your first session.