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What does Pilates do, and how does it differ from other fitness regimens?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Many practitioners of Pilates find it to be more than a workout.

In lots of cases, Pilates is a lifestyle. The benefits that come with practicing its exercises are incomparable, especially as a regimen you can teach and train yourself to master.

What does Pilates do?

Pilates is about training your muscle groups to work together, creating smoother movements. This will also help with improving posture, supporting proper breathing, supporting healthy spinal and pelvic alignment, and help you become more in tune with the nuances of your own body.

It also helps to improve flexibility and range of motion as well as reducing stress. Another thing to keep in mind about Pilates is quality over quantity: it should be stressed that the quality of the movements practiced is vastly more crucial than the quantity of repetitions.

When practiced regularly (about three times a week), Pilates can help you develop a stronger core, a stronger back, and gain more lean muscles. It helps with flexibility and also helps to create an evenly conditioned body.

Pilates can do wonders for the body, and not just physically. When adding proper breathing to Pilates, you are better able to execute movements with maximum power and efficiency. Pilates teaches things like quality of breathing and proper body alignment. By engaging your mind while exercising the body, you’re reaping the biggest benefits from practicing Pilates. Pilates is beneficial for overall physical health and also supports mental wellness.

But what is it that makes Pilates different from other forms of exercise? In this article, we discuss the things that differentiate Pilates from other fitness regimens and why these distinctions are so important.

Fitness regimens that bear some commonalities with Pilates include yoga, tai chi, barre, and even swimming.

Pilates and yoga

Pilates and yoga have a lot in common, but they’re certainly not interchangeable. Yoga is almost more akin to a form of active meditation, in which the practitioner (in this case, yogi) performs asanas to help create a physical, mental, and emotional experience within and throughout the body.

On the other hand, Pilates helps the practitioner learn to train several muscle groups at once using smooth controlled movements. That’s not to say that there is not or cannot be a spiritual or emotional aspect to performing Pilates; any type of movement can be meditative when performed with mindfulness. It’s more to say that Pilates helps to retrain the body to move in more efficient – and ultimately safer – patterns of motion.

For example, Pilates emphasizes focusing on proper breathing, helping to maintain healthy spinal and pelvic alignment. Ultimately, this allows the body and mind to spend their combined focus on smooth movement, helping to facilitate an acute awareness of the body. In turn, this can help with things ranging from stress to back pain to gaining a stronger physical core.

Pilates and tai chi

Tai chi is an internal Chinese martial art, internal meaning that it focuses more on interior development than physiological development. It blends concepts of movement, meditation, and (sometimes) Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM. Tai chi does not require the same amount of physical movement that Pilates does, but both focus on building muscle strength and autonomic memory.

Pilates and barre

Barre is a hybrid exercise regimen that borrows elements from ballet, yoga, and Pilates. Its name comes from the use of a ballet barre throughout practice. When compared with yoga, Pilates, and tai chi, barre is significantly more physical and less mental, and is generally practiced without a spiritual component.

Pilates and swimming

Because of their shared focus on gentle and repetitive moments, Pilates and swimming have quite a bit in common when it comes to the type of muscle memory the two forms of exercise facilitate. Many find their swimming exercise to be meditative and look forward to their daily dip as a form of spiritual and emotional cleansing. Likewise, learning proper breath control is a major component of both Pilates and swimming.

Pilates shares similarities with other types of exercise, but there’s nothing out there that’s completely interchangeable. Try out different exercise regimens to see which one suits you best and provides you with the best physical, mental, and spiritual benefits.