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If you are looking for a safe and sensible exercise system, that will help you look good and feel your best, then look no further-Pilates is here. She talks to experts in the industry and finds out why this is a complete workout for the mind, body and soul.

Fitness and wellness are the two different sections on which individuals are investing more time and money. This is the best time to cash in on the opportunities and reap the various benefits available in these fields. Pilates is one such exercise regimen that is trending, amongst the different age groups and strata of the society, including celebs. Remember the song ‘Kamli’ featuring Katrina Kaif? The leggy lass got that gorgeous body by doing Pilates.

This extraordinary exercise system was created in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, a German fitness trainer. Pilates is a workout that comprises of mindful and bodiful movements, which can positively change lives. An intelligent and effective exercise session, it teaches the body to move in the most efficient and safest way possible by stabilising and mobilising the muscles.

Pilates can be classified into two - the mat and the machine workouts. The most popular is the mat workout, where much time is spent on the floor using the concept of gravity and your own body weight to create resistance. The machine workout uses the same concept of resistance, but with the use of external elements, such as weights. Both the methods are effective as they focus on strengthening the core muscles.

Who can do it?
The great thing about Pilates is that just about everyone-from lazy couch potatoes to fitness freaks can do it. “Any person can do this workout, as it focuses on the core muscles-not just the lower back and abs, but the very core of your being,” says, a piloxing expert from Mumbai. “Your fitness level does not matter as this exercise regimen can be adapted to suit your comfort level. It is great for people with back injuries, weak muscles and bad postures because it encourages you to strengthen your problem areas in a relaxed and low impact way.” she continues. Age is also not a factor-it can address the needs of a wide spectrum of people, right from youngsters to seniors and all in between-people who want to stay fit and healthy can practice Pilates.

Why is it different from other workouts?

This routine requires a lot of commitment in terms of the mind, body and soul. Owner of Leap Wellness Studio, Chennai says, “It is a balance training exercise. Utmost concentration is required while practicing it. A wholesome workout, the routine varies every few minutes-the idea is to do many different kinds of exercises with few repetitions.” Unlike a normal gym session, Pilates need not be done continuously for 45 minutes to an hour; 10 minutes every day should suffice. She adds, “It is the essence for any workout. It works on the core muscles-making them strong and more flexible.”

Does it help in weight loss?

As this workout focuses on the major muscle groups with slow and intentional movements, Pilates has become widely popularised as a perfect weight loss regimen. “Many people are successfully losing weight with Pilates because they become much more aware of their bodies and learn to treat it better and make healthy food choices. Awareness is a key element for weight loss.”

What are the benefits of Pilates?
This exercise is a combination of strengthening and relaxation technique. “It helps in lightening the weight on the spine and joints by correcting the imbalances caused due to a bad posture or misuse of muscles.” The key benefits of Pilates are proper body alignment, core strengthening, flexibility, muscle toning and stress busting. This workout also helps you rediscover your body’s natural movements and progress to become more graceful.

Yoga, not!
Pilates is similar to yoga on many levels, but at the same time this workout is different. The intrinsic elements of both are the same-concentration on breathing, strengthening of the core and spine and flexibility.

Pilates: It focuses more on strengthening the core muscles and proper body alignment. It is a slow and intense work out, which felicitates the body by aligning it properly.

Yoga: The fundamental nature of yoga is to offer inner peace to anyone who practices it. This can be achieved through meditation. Apart from that, it also focuses on stretching and toning all the muscles of the body with various exercises.


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