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  • Sophia Kamveris, MS, RDN

P is for Pilates....and Planks!

Updated: Jun 9


Many of you may not be personally interested in today’s post but please share if you know someone who might benefit. Pre-Covid, I took a Pilates mat class once a week. Admittedly, I dreaded it. Mostly because the class started at 7:30 PM, and in the middle of winter, it took awhile to peel off the layers of polar fleece, sweats (on top of leggings), boots, hat, and coat to get myself on the mat. And, then I was freezing in the chilly classroom once I stripped the layers off!


Today, I enjoy an online Pilates class in the comfort of my own home and at ANY time that I want to do it. I’ll share a link at the end if any of you are interested in the program that got me back into the Pilates groove.


Pilates has a history dating back to WW1, when a German orderly, Joseph Pilates, rehabilitated wounded soldiers by attaching springs to hospital beds to support their limbs while he was treating them. The soldiers responded well to the hands-on rehab. Pilates emigrated to the U.S. in the 1920’s. With his innovative design as his inspiration, he founded a studio in NYC that used a spring-tension, sliding platform, now known as the “Reformer,” that was designed to enhance body strength and balance. Ballerinas still use the Pilates method of pointing and flexing their toes at the bar as a part of their warm-up routines.


You all know how much I love science when I recommend something to you! There’s lots of good, evidence-based studies that supports Pilates strengthens muscles and bones, helps lower lower back pain (always know your own medical limits) and improves the following:

  • Core strength

  • Posture

  • Flexibility

  • Balance

  • Oxygen flow

  • Mood

Pilates is a low-impact, full-body exercise that uses slow, precise movements. Like yoga, Pilates encourages you to connect with your breathing. Believe it or not, I need reminders by the instructor when to inhale and when to exhale!


Pilates mat exercise relies on ones own body weight for resistance, while the Reformer device uses springs and pulleys to provide the resistance. Both depend on isolating muscles, good control, and multiple repetitions that lead to muscle exhaustion with the ultimate goal of strengthening them.


In Pilates, the “powerhouse" refers to your abdominal core. The roll up, Hundred, leg circles, the Teaser, and rolling like a ball are just a few of the regular positions in any Pilates workout. Modifications of the exercises should always be offered to beginners or those with medical or physical limitations. It’s important to perform each movement with good form, so as to benefit from the exercise, and to not cause any physical injury. Purchase a thicker mat; a thin, yoga mat will not be comfortable!


If you are interested in checking out the on-demand Pilates I use, The Balanced Life, here’s a link for a 2-week free trial:

https://thebalancedlifeonline.com/pilates-strong-challenge/


And then use the Refer-a-Friend link if you are hooked!

https://thebalancedlifeonline.com/friend/ref/48156


No pressure! I just love sharing this great find and I can’t say enough about the instructor, Robin Long. Some of the work-outs are less than 15 minutes and can easily fit into a busy day.


And a big shout-out to my Pilates plank partner, Demi! After a few attempts to prop ourselves up, we finally got it!

Sophie

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