It's gentle... but it's bloody effective:

Unlike something more intense like body pump, I've never once left a pilates class with the intention of never returning and for a hater of most physical activity, that's quite a feat. Pilates certainly isn't a walk in the park, though - you may not sweat like you do in spinning or lose your breath quite like you do when going for a run, but you definitely get a solid workout from it. What's more, keep it up for even a few sessions and you can really start to feel it working. 

It gives you an opportunity to escape the real world and focus on yourself:

Pilates is fast paced enough (in terms of having to pay attention to different moves) to keep me interested but slow paced enough to allow me to wonder amongst my own thoughts, something that rarely seems to happen these days. Whether I need to plan our my week ahead or simply allow my thoughts to come and go without a screen distracting me for the first time in hours, pilates gives me some of that precious 'me' time back. 

It's a great way to strengthen your core and help any pains/aches:

When I first started to take my fitness a bit more seriously, I was having a number of problems with my back/shoulders/neck from constantly slouching over the desk in lectures or from not moving as much during the day as I should, and pilates (as well as hitting the gym more often) really helped me to become pain free. To be honest, it was a god send during my final few months at uni, not only because it helped me to escape the day-to-day stress of my course, but also because it made my life that much more comfortable. 

It helps to improve your general sports performance:

Go to any gym and you'll have all sorts of people attending pilates classes - this is because many personal trainers will recommend taking pilates as a 'complementary' exercise alongside whatever your main focus may be. Why you may ask? Well, pilates is all about developing and strengthening your core, building up stamina and trying to use every goddamn muscle in your body. These skills are instantly transferable to any other type of sport/physical activity and do not only complement your existing routine but also allows you to add a bit of variety to your schedule.

Anyone can do it and become good at it:

The one thing I really love about going to pilates is that there never seems to be one person that is good at everything. People's bodies vary a huge amount so not everyone is going to find every move easy. When I first started taking classes I felt a tad useless, but after a while I started to excel at certain moves - a few proving to be tricky for even the most promising students in my eyes. This isn't about comparison - fitness should be your own journey - but it definitely boosted my confidence to know that even though I'm not super strong or fit, I could still go to my pilates class and kick ass along with the best of them and that feeling kept me coming back every week. 

Have you tried pilates before? Do you agree with the benefits that I've chosen? Have you experienced any others? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

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