Why Pilates Is A Great Workout

Why Pilates Is A Great Workout

Photo by Li Sun from Pexels 

Pilates is an incredibly popular form of exercise. It offers an all-round, integrated workout that focuses on core strength, muscle development, balance, and concentration.

It was developed in the early 20th Century by its namesake, Joseph Pilates, and has steadily grown in popularity ever since. Nowadays you can find Pilates classes almost anywhere you go, and with good reason. As the founder himself said,  “[Pilates] develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and evaluates the spirit.”

So let’s take a look at why Pilates is such a great workout.

What is Pilates?

First things first: what exactly is Pilates? In a nutshell, it’s a slow, low-impact exercise method inspired by calisthenics, yoga, and ballet. It has a particular emphasis on strengthening the core, but is aimed at developing all-round fitness and wellbeing.

There are various types of Pilates that require special equipment such as the Reformer and Wunda Chair, but at its most basic level it can be performed with little more than a mat.

According to the Pilates Foundation, Joseph Pilates based his work on three principles: breath, whole-body health, and whole-body commitment. The whole-body, in this instance, referring to mind, body, and spirit.

It’s believed that more than 12 million people practise the method worldwide.

So, now that we’ve covered the what, let’s move on to the why and look at some of the things that make Pilates such a beneficial and popular practise. . .10

It builds strength, not bulk

Pilates is more about developing long lean muscles as opposed to straight bulk. So it’s an excellent choice for those who are looking for tone and not size.

The movements involved in Pilates also place a lot of emphasis on the core, engaging the abdominal muscles and muscles closest to the spine, which helps to build and strengthen the body’s frame.

Essentially, what you’ll develop from Pilates is the sort of functional strength that’s useful for the physical challenges of everyday life.

Increases flexibility and improves posture

When you practise Pilates, you’re working towards increasing muscle length and improved range of joint motion. By achieving this, you may see an improvement in overall flexibility and mobility.

A strong core supports proper alignment, and proper alignment promotes good posture. By training and strengthening the abdominal and lower back muscles, your posture should naturally come into alignment. This is part of the reason why Pilates is often said to help those suffering from back pain.

It can be modified

One of the best reasons to practise Pilates is its accessibility. Many of the moves can be modified to accommodate a broad range of abilities and fitness levels, which means that beginners can jump straight in without feeling overwhelmed.

Setting your own difficulty level means that you can push yourself as and when you feel like it, and if any of the movements become too intense, you can take them down a notch.

Pilates is also a relatively gentle form of exercise. That’s not to suggest that it’s easy. But the fact that many of the movements are performed from a seated or reclining position means that there’s virtually no impact, and very little external strain on the body.

Pilates is good for the mind

Pilates challenges you to focus all of your attention on the movements you’re performing. The slow, flowing nature of the exercises requires unwavering concentration, and the emphasis on proper breathing introduces an element of mindfulness.

So although it can be very physically demanding and challenging, you may just find yourself feeling a little calmer and more focussed after a good Pilates class.

 

 

Top 10 Pilates Workouts On Youtube (As Of November 2021)

Top 10 Pilates Workouts On Youtube (As Of November 2021)

Photo by Li Sun from Pexels.

Last week we shared 11 of the most popular yoga routines on YouTube. And with the same theme in mind, we thought we’d expand the offering by bringing you the top 10 most popular Pilates workouts.

Yoga, after all, isn’t for everyone. And if you find instead that you resonate more with the particular style and sequencing of Pilates, then this is the post for you.

Below are the top ten results for the YouTube search term “Pilates workout” (as of November 2021). You’ll find a great selection of classes offered by a range of different channels. Interestingly, the most common channel to feature in the list is POPSUGAR Fitness, which takes up 3 of the 10 spots.

 

POP Pilates for Beginners – Total Body Workout

13 million views

 

Leg Slimming Pilates Butt and Thigh Workout to Lift Glutes & Tone Thighs

13 million views

 

Total Body Pilates! 20 Minute Tone & Shape, Legs, Butt, Abs, Beginners Home Workout, Flexib

8.3 million views

 

The Ultimate Pilates 21 Day Challenge ♥ Define Your Abs & Booty

6.4 million views

 

30-Minute Butt and Abs Pilates Bikini Workout With Jake DuPree | Class FitSugar

5.4 million views

 

Pilates 21 Day Challenge ♥ Full Body Workout For Results

5.3 million views

 

Fat Burning HIIT Pilates Workout – 35 Minute Pilates and HIIT Cardio Blend

5 million views

 

25-Minute Pilates Workout to Tone Your Abs, Butt, and Arms x WundaBar Pilates | Class FitSugar

4.6 million views

 

45-Minute Cardio Pilates Total Body Workout

4.3 million views

 

30 MIN FULL BODY WORKOUT | At-Home Pilates

3.9 million views

 

Stay strong!

That’s it for this week’s list. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to end there. Once you’ve made it through these workouts, why not build on your personal practise with these 5 Pilates moves for a killer core workout.

 

Cycling In Newcastle Upon Tyne: A List Of Helpful Resources

Cycling In Newcastle Upon Tyne: A List Of Helpful Resources

Last week we shared some reasons why cycling is a fantastic form of exercise. This week, to continue with the same theme, we thought we’d share some useful resources for anyone who’s interested in digging deeper into cycling around the city of Newcastle.

Below you’ll find links to local cycling groups, hubs, shops, routes, and guides all based in or around Newcastle upon Tyne. We hope you’ll find them useful.

Cycling and walking: a match made in heaven

What makes cycling such a wonderful hobby is that not only is it great for mental and physical health, but it’s accessible. In other words: you don’t need heaps of money, equipment, or existing fitness to get going. Another form of exercise that strikes a similar chord is, of course, walking (although walking is, on the whole, more affordable and accessible).

But why choose between the two when you can just do both? So when you’ve finally exhausted all the resources on the above list, and you just fancy a good old-fashioned walk to mix up your cycling routine, then take a look at these 6 wonderful walking routes in Newcastle.

 

3 Reasons To Start Cycling And 2 Ted Talks To Back Them Up

3 Reasons To Start Cycling And 2 Ted Talks To Back Them Up

Photo by Mike from Pexels.

There are many reasons to ride a bike. Whether its to increase your health, decrease your commuting costs, or lower your carbon footprint, making a habit of cycling may be one of the best personal investments you can make.

And in terms of fitness, cycling is a wonderful addition to any workout regime. Both its low-impact nature and accessibility make it the perfect choice for everyday exercise.

So whether you want a bike for work, leisure, or just a good old fashioned leg workout, keep reading for x reasons why cycling is amazing for the mind and body.

Promotes mental wellbeing

In the words of Mark Martin (whose Ted Talk we’ve featured below), “You really cannot be sad on a bicycle”. There are a number of reasons why people believe that cycling is good for mental health. One potential factor is the semi-meditative state that cycling puts us in. The rhythm and motion of cycling can help to calm and quiet our minds, whilst at the same time the need to maintain constant awareness keeps our brains active enough to shut out all distractions.

Offers a low-impact cardio workout

A huge advantage that cycling has over lots of other exercise forms is its low-impact nature. A gentle/moderate cycling routine presents a much lower risk of injury than some other more intense styles of cardio training. This is not only good news for beginners and those with lower levels of fitness, but it’s good for everyone. Cycling is the kind of hobby you can keep with you all through your life.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how fit you are, or how well-conditioned you are. As long as you have a bike, and as long as you can ride it, then you’ll always have access to a source of cardio exercise.

Cycling kicks off your day in a positive way

If you cycle to work then it’s one of the first things you’ll do in a morning, which can have a hugely positive impact on the rest of your day. Pedalling a few miles before even sitting down for your 9am coffee can bring a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction.

In fact, cycling has been identified as the happiest way to commute to work. According to a paper in Science Direct, there are four components that contribute to higher levels of commuter satisfaction in cyclists: “1) A high degree of commuting control and ‘arrival-time reliability’; 2) Enjoyable levels of sensory stimulation; 3) The ‘feel better’ effects of moderate intensity exercise; and 4) Greater opportunities for social interaction”.

Ted Talks On Cycling

Now, for a bit more inspiration and information, we thought we’d share two fantastic Ted Talks on the wonders of cycling. Enjoy!

Bicycling For Life: Mark Martin

 

The Amazing Way Bicycles Change You: Anthony Desnick

 

Walk, Cycle, Run, Swim

Of course, cycling is just one of many ways to keep fit and healthy. For more on the myriad advantages of keeping active, why not take a look at these 5 benefits of running, or these 9 benefits of swimming.

 

5 Fantastic Reasons To Get Running

5 Fantastic Reasons To Get Running

Photo by Leandro Boogalu from Pexels.

Running is one of the most accessible and beneficial exercises around. It can fit around the tightest of schedules, and is suitable for people of almost any age, body type, and fitness level. Small wonder, then, that there are now estimated to be more runners on English streets than cyclists. And one more thing – It’s completely free!

But what makes running just so fantastic? What are its benefits and how can it contribute to a life of better health and wellbeing? Well, let’s take a look…

Running is good for the heart

According to a study that looked at over 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100, runners are up to 50% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than non-runners. That’s a very significant statistic, and an encouraging reason to consider regular running as a way of developing and maintaining a healthy heart.

One of the reasons why running is so good for the heart is that it decreases your resting heart rate. This means that, during day-to-day activities, the heart isn’t working as hard and doesn’t over-exert itself.

It makes you feel good 

Ever heard of runner’s high? It’s a sort of euphoric state runners sometimes reach in the throes of a good run. A feeling of exhilaration and flow.

In the words of Jesse Pittsley, PhD, of the American Society for Exercise Physiologists, “Psychologically, runners may experience euphoria, a feeling of being invincible, a reduced state of discomfort or pain, and even a loss in sense of time while running.”

Talk to any runner about it, and you’ll probably find them nodding along with a happy glaze over their eyes: “Ah yes, I know the feeling. . .”

Although it’s unclear as to precisely what causes runner’s high, a popular theory is that it has something to do with the neurotransmitters (including dopamine and serotonin) secreted whilst running.

And this feel-good factor leads directly into the next point. . . .

It boosts confidence

Aside from the natural, confidence-boosting properties of feeling good about yourself, there are a number of other reasons why running is excellent for self-confidence.

There is of course the physical aspect. Not only can it change the way you look and feel on the outside, but it can have a positive effect on your internal systems as well. So, as an exercise, running can be an excellent promoter of body confidence.

There’s also the goal-oriented aspect of running. Time goals, distance goals, weight goals, and so on. Many people believe that setting and achieving goals contributes towards boosting happiness, and happiness can help us become more confident.

Then there’s the social aspect. Joining a club, making new friends, connecting with likeminded people, and being part of a community. All these factors can contribute to increased feelings of self-esteem and confidence.

Running may reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress 

Along with its mood-boosting qualities, running is also thought to help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is perhaps best explained through first-hand accounts, of which there are plenty. But as a starting point, and if you’re interested in diving a bit deeper into this particular point, have a look at any or all of these very informative and revealing articles:

It’s cheap, easy, and convenient

One of the most portable pieces of workout gear around is a pair of running shoes. That’s really all you need. And the beauty of running is that you can do it almost anywhere, at anytime, completely for free.

You don’t need to join a gym to run. You don’t even need that much spare time. Even if you only have 20 minutes a day, you can put in a quick run around the block. If you’re close enough, you could even run to work, combining your daily commute with your workout routine.

Running is flexible enough that it can be tailored to multiple fitness goals. Whether you’re aiming for distance, speed, weight loss, or are running for fun, you can work it around your preferences.

Another mark of its flexibility is that running can be performed at whatever social or competitive level you desire. You can run on your own, join a non-competitive club, or get out and race. The choice is yours, and whatever you choose, you’re still getting fit and increasing your overall wellbeing, no matter what level you decide to work at. So it’s perfectly suited for both casual exercisers and the more competitive-minded.

Lace up!

So what are you waiting for? If you’ve got a pair of running shoes hidden away in the back of the wardrobe why not get out and go for a jog? And it doesn’t matter if you’re new to the exercise. There are plenty of apps and programmes out there designed to help get you started. One excellent resource is the NHS Couch to 5K app, which takes you through a 9-week programme designed to get you from complete beginner to running 5 kilometres.

7 Great Health And Fitness Podcasts To Keep You Company Through A Workout

7 Great Health And Fitness Podcasts To Keep You Company Through A Workout

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels.

Podcasts are wonderful companions when we’re on the move. Whether we’re walking to work, riding the bus, or waiting for a train, a good podcast can really help the time fly by. But aside from that, podcasts can really help us get through a workout.

Not only do they give us something to focus on, but they can inspire us to push ourselves and strive for our goals. So no matter if you’re a runner, a swimmer, and cyclist or a bodybuilder, we’re sure there’s a podcast out there that can help you to stay motivated achieve your goals.

With that said, here are 7 health and fitness podcasts that we think are worthy of any exercise enthusiast’s headphones.

Ali On The Run Show

Host Ali Feller sits down for deep conversations with “inspiring people who lead interesting lives on the run and beyond”. And though running is the running theme that binds Ali and her guests together, this podcast goes far beyond the track to deliver interesting, thoughtful, and inspiring conversations.

Fitness Confidential with Vinnie Tortorich 

In this podcast, fitness and weight loss expert Vinnie Tortorich “dispels the widespread mistaken beliefs regarding weight loss and exercise and teaches us how to lose weight, get fit and reclaim our lives”. Covering topics from the effects of sugary drinks and the dangers of steroids to goal-setting and obesity. This one’s a great listen for anyone interested in health and fitness, but also specifically those looking to lose weight.

TED Health

You may already be familiar with a little platform called TED Talks… But did you also know about their podcast? In this informative show, “TED speakers answer questions you never even knew you had, and share ideas you won’t hear anywhere else, all around how we can live healthier lives”. Some of their most recent episodes (at the time of writing) discuss the “mood-boosting power of crying”, how to manage stress, and why it’s ok to forget things.

Marathon Training Academy

If you’re interested in marathons then this podcast is for you. Annie Spencer “shares her knowledge and experience as both a marathoner and registered nurse to help you run smarter, feel better, and go the distance”. Whatever your current running level and whatever your goals, Marathon Training Academy is certain to keep you inspired.

 Hurdle Podcast

Host Emily Abbate talks to a range of individuals about their successes and, perhaps more importantly, failures. It’s a wellness-focussed podcast, and is a fantastic place to find inspiration, especially if you’re feeling stuck or lacking motivation.

20 Minute Fitness

We’ll let the description of this podcast speak for itself: “Twenty Minute Fitness brings you the best news and advice on nutrition, health, weight loss and digital health in less than 20 minutes!”

Eat, Move and Live Better

Though an all-round excellent listen, this podcast is brilliant for those more interested in the nutritional aspect of health and wellness. Eat, Move and Live Better dives deep into lots of food-related topics. These include whether dairy is good or bad for you, why it can be difficult to stop overeating, and nutritional strategies that can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In their own words, “the one message we’d like to share is this: You CAN get healthy and fit while still living your life”.

Keep entertained, keep healthy

For more health-, wellbeing-, and fitness-related entertainment, take a look at these 5 great sports documentaries. Or these 7 brilliant books on sport and fitness.