I love cardio training, whether it be trail running or road biking. I feel great from the endorphins that keep me in a good mood.
I joined a mat Pilates class in Aspen to discover I was the least flexible person in the class. The class is a good counterbalance to my intense cardio routine: it works other muscles, such as my core, arms and butt.
Pilates is a form of exercise similar to yoga, involving a series of movements that concentrate on core strength, balance and flexibility. Developed by Joseph Pilates, who believed mental and physical health were closely connected. Practising Pilates has been proven to improve one’s overall well-being as well as fitness.
Practising Pilates on a regular basis has provided me with rounded benefits. My momentarily lost six pack began to return while the definition in my arms came back. In addition, I also felt far more agile and flexible.
The good thing about pilates is it strengthens and lengthens muscles without causing bulk. Focusing on the mind and regulating breathing is an extremely powerful way to tone the body. I could now hold a plank and other core exercises for longer, and my posture improved. This is really helpful in today’s world with everyone slouching over a computer.
Breathing performed in yoga and Pilates has been shown to cause a reduction in stress and blood pressure; deep breathing encourages correct blood flow and helps with sleep.
I now enjoy Pilates as part of my routine, anywhere at any time, with just a mat and a band.
Also see: Opinion: Annabelle Bond on the physical and mental benefits of running