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 Get fit to the core with Pilates


A few years ago, when the yoga class at my gym was full, I decided to try Pilates. At the time, I was doing 100 crunches a day and working out frequently, and I thought it would be a piece of cake for me. I was wrong. While I found that the abdominal strength I already had helped me through the class, the class wasn't really about strength; it was about endurance, namely the ability to hold a pose for a while and move slowly through the movements. That was the hard part for me, and it's something I still struggle with, years later.


Get fit to the core with Pilates

These days, pilates is trendy, practiced among many A-list celebrities like Jennifer Aniston. It's a great class for beginners, but I think it has even greater benefits for people who are already active. Until I took pilates, I never realized how big a role my core plays in everything I do. Since I've taken pilates, I'm much more aware of my core strength and try to integrate it into every sport and activity I participate in. Using my core, I'm better at many things, including wakeboarding, snowboarding, volleyball and even yoga. I'm hoping to try surfing this year and know my core will play a huge part in that so I better start preparing.


Pilates was developed in the early 20th century by a man named Joseph Pilates, who essentially designed the technique for dancers to give them all-over strength without the bulk that normal muscle-building routines give. Pilates doesn't aim to build muscle through high-impact exertion -- rather, it aims to lengthen and tone muscles, particularly in the core, those muscles below your top layer of stomach fat. Because it strengthens muscle in a way that is gentle and non-strenuous on the body, Pilates can help athletes avoid injury, and Pilates-related injuries are almost non-existent. Pilates has numerous benefits, including recent news that Pilates is a great activity for those with Parkinson's disease.


Some people who practice Pilates, such as Oprah, use fancy (and expensive) equipment like tables. But the truth is, Pilates can be done with minimal equipment -- a comfortable mat and a stretchy exercise band are really all you need. An exercise ball can also be employed but it's by no means necessary. Almost every gym out there offers a pilates class, and for first-timers, I would definitely recommend a class -- DVDs are good (particularly the Windsor Pilates set) but it's important to learn the techniques correctly and person-to-person contact can guarantee that you get it right the first time.

Mohammed khalf
كاتب المقالة
writer and blogger, founder of Go motivations .

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