Pilates provides a wide range of health benefits that include better range of movements, higher fitness levels, better cardiac health and blood circulation, reduction of stress and anxiety, and many others. People of all ages, types and sizes are flocking to Pilates classes to benefit from the wide range of advantages associated with doing Pilates. If you have not yet joined the Pilates revolution, you may not know what to expect. Here is a rundown of everything you should know before you attend your first class!
What is Pilates?
This exercise discipline was started by Joseph Pilates in the fifties and is based on body movements that are performed in a slow and deliberate manner, while focusing on particular muscles or muscle groups. Breathing techniques and intense concentration are required to perfect the movements. The movements are slow but deliberately designed to target certain areas, in particular the core muscles, which form the basis of the Pilates philosophy.
What to Wear
Clothing for Pilates should be comfortable, and able to stretch and move along with your body. Usually clothing used for yoga will be fine, but you have to take care not to wear clothes that are too loose – this may restrict some movements. You will also need a yoga mat, hand towel and water bottle.
Before entering a class, make an appointment with the instructor who does the beginners’ classes and ensure that they do a thorough assessment with you. Any qualified Pilates instructor will know which questions to ask and how to assess you. You have to report any pain, injuries, health concerns and other factors that may have an impact, and your instructor will then make recommendations about equipment or movements to avoid (if any), and ensure that you are in the correct class. The instructor will also know that you are a newcomer and will then keep a closer eye on you during your first few classes to ensure that you perform movements correctly and draw maximum benefits from these, without getting injured.
Arrive on Time
Do your best to arrive well before the class, to ensure that you get the spot you like and also that you are able to perform the entire class – including the warm-up. Instructors will often not let people into the class if they arrive too late to perform the entire warm-up part of the session. This prevents people from coming in cold and straining muscles that aren’t warmed up properly. It is also annoying for the other participants in the class if they have to stop an exercise or start again to accommodate a latecomer.
The first session will usually be very gentle (while the instructor gets a handle of how much you are capable of) and will later increase in intensity. While you may not feel as if you are exerting yourself during the first few classes, you may well feel stiff the next day, as you are likely to exercise muscles that you don’t use on a daily basis. You should experience some muscle stiffness, but no back pain or neck pain – see your instructor if you do.
If you would like to attend beginners’ classes in Pretoria, please give our team at BASI Pilates a call – we look forward to helping you reap the benefits of Pilates!