Yes, it’s true – Pilates helps you lose weight!
Taking regular Pilates classes will help you lose weight, but why? After all, we are told that medium intensity ‘fat burning’ exercises such as jogging or cycling are the best for weight loss. Here are my seven reasons why Pilates could be the exercise class you are looking for to finally shed those pounds!
1. People stick with Pilates
In my 27 years experience teaching just about every form of exercise class there is, Pilates is the one that people stick with the longest. That means it is very enjoyable. And that’s my first reason: the exercise class that is most helpful for weight loss is the one you stick with – and people stick with Pilates!
2. Pilates helps you keep exercising
Pilates can reduce back, sciatic and other pain, removing barriers to exercise. If you are injured or in pain, you are very unlikely to be able to continue exercising. Not only does that mean you will burn far fewer calories, but being inactive and in discomfort makes resisting unhealthy food much more difficult. Many repetitive forms of exercise, especially running, can lead directly to injury. Pilates, on the other hand, helps prevent injury, keeping you exercising and burning those calories.
3. Pilates is highly motivating
Pilates improves muscle-tone and posture, providing rapid visible differences and feelings of ‘wellness’ which are highly motivating for people. Losing weight is not easy, so we must be motivated in order to keep going. An improved, more upright posture makes us feel better about ourselves and gives us more confidence. Pilates is the number one form of exercise to help us do just that!
4. Pilates enables a more active lifestyle
Pilates can improve ‘functional ability’ (the things one is physically able to do), enabling people to live more active lifestyles. This may involve undertaking other sports or activities, or simply activities of daily living, such as putting your socks on, gardening and general housework. Clearly, the more active we are, the more calories we burn on a daily basis. Pilates helps us achieve this. The best thing for our overall health is to keep moving every day.
5. Pilates improves muscle tone
Muscle ‘tone’ is simply the tension that remains in our muscles when they are not actively doing anything. Exercising the muscles in a progressive manner improves muscle tone. This has a wide range of benefits including posture and injury prevention, but it is worth noting that the harder a muscle is working – even when at rest – the more calories you are burning – yes – even when at rest! Pilates is fantastic for improving muscle tone.
6. Pilates is perfect for beginners
Pilates is a structured, progressive form of exercise that can ultimately be very challenging. However, it can also be undertaken very gently, making it especially suitable for people who are unfit or not used to exercising. For people about to embark on their personal weight loss journey, and especially those who do not like the idea of ‘jumping around’, this makes Pilates ideal.
7. Pilates can help improve your mental health
For many people, being overweight is linked to mental health issues. For example, some people ‘comfort eat’ to escape from psychological problems, whilst others feel a certain degree of ‘addiction’ to food. If you believe that your weight is linked in some way to your mental health, Pilates can help. Pilates is achievable, enjoyable, and there is no competition, all things that make you feel great! Plus, through its structured breathing techniques, Pilates promotes ‘mindfulness’ (the practice of being present in the moment), and mindfulness is now strongly linked to improved mental health. (If you feel you have mental health issues that need addressing, I would also urge you to speak to your doctor, in order to identify an appropriate course of action.)
Clearly, Pilates isn’t an ‘all-in-one’ solution to being overweight – no exercise system is. Modern thinking is that there are a range of different things that people need to address in order to successfully lose weight, and these will vary from person to person. Pilates, however, is a great place to start.
By far the most important factor in losing weight is diet – eating the correct quantity of the right foods. There are ample resources freely available on this subject nowadays; the problem is therefore not one of information, but one of motivation and discipline. By making a positive start through an enjoyable form of exercise such as Pilates, we can find the motivation to address our diet, and impose the necessary discipline upon ourselves to succeed!