While it absolutely is true that some physical activity is better than no physical activity at all, people that want to get truly healthy cannot rely on just one type of physical activity alone. When it comes to Pilates, for example, there are those who believe doing some stretching and strength conditioning are enough to work slowly toward complete physical fitness, but while Pilates is a great activity for toning up muscles and aligning the spine, it is not enough all by itself to help someone become truly healthy.
Building a Well-Rounded Fitness Regimen
So how should one approach a total fitness program? Like everything else, the best approach is a holistic one, which includes a number of different activities, such as:
The health benefits of Pilates are plentiful, but in terms of physical fitness its biggest assets are strength training and improved flexibility. Of all the muscle groups Pilates works, the abs, lower back, hips and buttocks (“core” muscles) are the most affected, and after a good amount of time practicing these exercises it is not uncommon to see real changes in those areas of the body. Pilates also can improve posture, stabilize the spine, and improve lung capacity through deep breathing. In other words, it does a lot of really positive things, but true health comes from adding other aspects of a workout regimen.
Working with weights is one example. Using Pilates to tighten up the core muscles is a great start, but there obviously are more muscle groups that need work beyond those in the middle of your body. Doing work on your arms, legs, shoulders and back all are effective ways to further tone and strengthen the rest of your body. When it comes to weight lifting, set a baseline with whatever lifts you are planning on doing, and record your progress as you increase weight and reps from week to week. Seeing progress in some of these other muscle groups may also help you see progress in your Pilates program. It certainly will move you closer to overall health.
The third group of essential fitness activities are aerobic in nature. While Pilates certainly can inspire deep breathing and get the heart pumping, it does not count as aerobic exercise. That’s why it is so essential to make sure you are pairing your strength training with some cardio workouts to pump oxygenated blood to the muscles. This can be as easy as working in a few brisk walks over the course of the week, or it can be more intensive in the form of running, bicycling or swimming. These are very different types of workouts that, combined with Pilates and weight training can have a tremendous effect on physical fitness.
Well-rounded exercise is the best approach to getting completely healthy, to say nothing of the importance of a well-rounded diet, and while Pilates here at YogaCoreFit certainly can help, the best exercise regimens are those that tick off all the boxes. Start with exercises you love, then add the ones that will help you become the healthiest version of yourself possible.