Pilates is becoming more popular - here's why...

29 Apr 2024 11:22AM by Lydia Melmeth - UK Yoga & Pilates Lead
Member and instructor in Mat Pilates

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Everyone and their dog is into Pilates at the moment. You can’t escape it – and truthfully, we love it (totally not biased but, have you seen how many Mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates classes we have each week?!) This low-impact workout, created by Joseph Pilates, has been rising in popularity over recent years with celebrities like Cristiano Ronaldo and Beyoncé getting behind it and a social media trend which sees some Pilates newbies take to the Reformer bed for the first time, and maybe it’s not as easy as they thought!

If you’re not doing Pilates, we’ve got to ask: why not? There’s a reason everyone is loving it and we asked our UK Pilates and Yoga lead Lydia Melmeth to share why our members think it’s a great workout too!

It's great for building strength

Typically, people think that the best workouts are the ones that make you sweat. And, while we love those, sometimes it’s just not that kind of day. This is where Pilates comes in. If you’ve ever given it a go, you’ll know the feeling of getting off the mat or reformer bed and muscles are hurting that you didn’t even know existed.

Pilates focuses on controlled movement. It’s about combining breath work and moving fluidly to get the best results. And because you’re concentrating on keeping your body controlled, you’ll be engaging your core muscles – for pretty much the whole class!

It's a full body workout 

Pilates is a wonderful way to tone and lengthen all parts of your body. It primarily focuses on exercises that target your core, glutes, hip muscles, lower and upper back as well as inner thigh muscles. But, that doesn’t mean that you won’t feel a good ache in your arms and shoulders in the morning too! Pilates can be challenging!

It's low impact

The low impact element of Pilates actually means that it works well for people who do a lot of sport that creates impact on their joints, such as running. If you’re a runner, having a strong and stabilised core will help you run faster or longer and with fewer injuries. And if you can get that without putting extra strain on your joints and muscles, then Pilates is calling your name.

If your body doesn’t quite work how it used to, Pilates is also a perfect choice of regular movement. You’ll get stronger while also improving your flexibility, stamina and overall mobility at a level that works for you.

It's a great stress reliever 

Everyone knows that exercising produces endorphins that get your body feeling good. But Pilates takes things one step further. Rather than just relying on endorphins, a key component of Pilates is matching your movement to your breath. By doing this, you’re more aware of how your interior and exterior react and complement each other.

And just being conscious of your breath can also help you identify where you are holding tension as well as encouraging you to take deeper and more fulfilling breaths.

There's something for everyone

Think you’re going to be working the same moves week after week? Think again. Pilates is great for helping you improve your strength, mobility and flexibility and that means that when you get better, there are more progressions that you can try. Your instructor will be constantly encouraging you to challenge your body when you feel comfortable with performing a certain move. Whether you’re an avid Pilates fan, a newbie or someone who has some pre-misconceptions about Pilates – Virgin Active has a class for everyone. If you've never been before, our Mat Pilates Foundations and Reformer Pilates Foundations classes are a good place to start. See you there!  


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