The Power of Pilates

The Clean and Lean book mentions doing some kickstart exercises such as high intensity workouts mixed with Pilates or strength training.  For me I’m a big fan of the great outdoors and funnily I never used to be and hated running outside.  I try to go out at least twice per week (sometimes three) for at least 30 minutes each time.  Sometimes I mix up a flat surface running route with some up-hill running and some short bursts in my runs.  I try not to go the same route twice in a row in order to mix it up a bit and see a different bit of scenery each time.

Recently I’ve been going to Pilates twice per week and even though it’s an hour of a tough workout, it’s been very enjoyable.  At the beginning I realised my core strength was terrible and I couldn’t even do the roll up without putting my arms down to push myself up or even do a simple plank without my hips dropping.  After a few sessions I was getting stronger through my core and my legs and arms were getting more toned.  My record for plank is now 3 minutes 20 seconds and I can roll up with ease!  I’ve found that my belly is firming up and can see the beginnings of some abs that haven’t seen the light of day for years!

Pilates class

Group class at Pilates by Janessa

Janessa Clark who runs Pilates classes in Stockholm says: “Pilates targets the deep muscles of the torso and spine (your ‘powerhouse’ or ‘core’) to strengthen the body from the inside out in proper alignment. The goals are to achieve a balance of strength and flexibility by creating a symbiotic relationship of opposing muscle groups, a harmonious collaboration between stability and mobility and better overall functioning of the body in everyday life. The six guiding principles of the Pilates method are: Breathing, Centering, Concentration, Control, Flow and Precision. Pilates is a dynamic system of exercise that integrates, refines and enhances our body, mind and spirit.”  She added: “It’s important for runners to train Pilates also since Pilates addresses the body in all planes of motion where running stays very narrowly in the sagittal (front to back) plane.”

Joseph Pilates noted that Pilates is like an ‘internal shower’, helping to cleanse the organs, oxygenate the cells and assists in boosting our body’s production of endorphins (the ‘feel good’ factor). In addition, it’s great for digestion and helps us sleep better too.  With this much going for it, what’s not to love?!

I was always a yoga goer but never really Pilates so I’m really loving mixing up classes to work on different areas of my body.  Combining this with cardio and other strength work has changed my body shape and I’m loving the results!

Featured photo credit: Optimus Lab. Class photo credit: Pilates by Janessa