What do you think when you hear the word Pilates?  Maybe like I used to believe, you think Pilates is only for people your mom’s age who have too much time on their hands and aren’t up for a rigorous workout.  Wrong.  I want to disprove any misconceptions you might have about Pilates and explain the many benefits it has.

Five Positives of Pilates:

1.  Tones Your Body

2. Improves Strength, Flexibility, and Posture

3.  Develops Muscle Awareness

4. Prevents Injuries

5. It’s Fun and a Good Workout!!

I started taking Pilates classes at Potomac Pilates about a year and a half ago when I was 15.  My mom (who used to hate all forms of exercise) saw an ad for Potomac Pilates and decided to try a class.  She kept going back and my whole family teased her for becoming obsessed.  To be honest I was skeptical about how effective Pilates was, so we decided to test it.  I realized when she humiliated me by beating me in a planking contest that Pilates was really making a difference.  My mom could hold a plank for 2 minutes and 30 seconds after only going to Pilates classes for a few weeks.  I decided to give it a try so that I could show her who really had the stronger abdominal muscles.  I took my first class in the winter of 2012 and eventually found myself coming back every day… it didn’t take long for me to become totally hooked. 

I am a junior at the Maret School and I run track in the spring and cross-country in the fall.  I have become an avid pilates-goer and take classes whenever I can.  It is a great thing to do during my off-season to stay in shape.  Ever since I started Pilates I have noticed a change in my capabilities in both my running seasons. 

Now back to the list of Pilates Positives:

  1. Pilates helps to strengthen and tone each muscle group- biceps, triceps, glutes, calves, abs, chest, back, quads, inner thighs, obliques, shoulders, you name it.  After taking classes consistently for a few weeks I can assure you that you will notice a change in your body.  It’s a great feeling knowing that you can tone your body in such a fun and healthy way. 
  2. Reformer Pilates is a great way for your body to get stronger and more flexible.  The endless ways to use the machine and the limitless number of exercises always keep things exciting in class, and ensure that you leave feeling that you’ve had a good workout. 
  3. In classes you will often hear instructors talking about a “mind-body connection”.  I didn’t know this mattered until I started doing Pilates.  Through taking classes you develop more awareness of your body in general and learn how to use the right muscles in different daily activities. 
  4. Pilates is a great workout because unlike some more cardio-based exercise classes, Pilates allows you to get a full workout without putting a lot of pressure and strain on your body.  The resistance training is a great way to build muscle without over-exerting your body.  I noticed that after adding Pilates to my routine, my muscles became stronger so in track this season I was able to avoid those annoying injuries that I had gotten in the past that come from over use of muscles. 
  5. Lastly, Pilates is really fun while at the same time is a great workout for all ages of people.  I am one of the youngest people in classes but what is great about Pilates is that it helps everyone and can be done just for general fitness as rehabilitation, or to prevent injury. 

I guess you could say that I have become completely addicted to reformer Pilates… I want more people my age to discover the Positives of Pilates and I strongly encourage you to start taking classes.  I promise once you start coming to classes you’ll locate muscles you didn’t know you had, and will find yourself coming back for more! I’m really excited to start teaching and I hope to see you in the studio sometime soon!

Dinah Gordon, Teen Class Instructor