When it comes to working out, group exercise classes offer a ton of benefits. And when you add a mind-body exercise to the mix, those benefits tenfold. Today, we want to dive into the benefits of a pilates mat class.
Throughout much of our day, we are ‘unconsciously aware.’ Meaning, when we drive our car, brush our teeth, do our job, it is usually done via muscle memory and with very little conscious awareness. With low-impact exercises like yoga and mat pilates, you are asked to focus inward. You are asked to think about what movements you are making and how they are making you feel, hone in on your breath, and then adjust accordingly. This mind-body connection can help you to face your day a little more aware and even help you to find out things about your body that you never knew before.
Mat pilates classes are typically held in a group exercise format. Our team suggests pilates in a classroom setting for several reasons: to be sure you have proper form, to be given alternate poses based on your capabilities, and to be motivated by your peers. A mat pilates class is a perfect place to make a new friend, or even ask around for what other classes your Group X friends love to take. Chances are, if they are interested in mat pilates, like you, they may have additional class suggestions that you may have never thought of. And—hey—isn’t it nice to make friends?
This type of pilates mainly focuses on stretching and expanding the muscles (while also building strength). The stretching involved in pilates can help you with your posture and balance—counteracting the things you do every day, like hunching over or sitting for long periods of time. Stretching will help to give you greater flexibility overall and can even help take some pain and stiffness away due to tight muscles. Pilates is a form of dynamic stretching, which means that you continuously move through the stretch rather than holding a stretch for several seconds. This form of stretching is great before a workout.
When we think of the core, often, an image of a six-pack at summer comes into mind. But, the core encompasses the entire center ‘trunk’ of your body. A strong core is essential for stabilization, to reduce back pain, and—yes—to help you feel more confident in your skin. Pilates is hyper-focused on core strength with mat exercises that target all of the muscles in your abdomen, chest, and back. You will feel these muscles working hard from your very first class and well into your practice. It is one of the main reasons people love their pilates exercises.
And while a lot of the focus is on the core, the exercise includes the rest of your body as well. In mat pilates, you will enjoy a full-body workout comprised of dynamic stretching, lunges, planks, ab workouts, and more to give you one well-rounded workout.
Because pilates focuses on the mind and body, you will not be asked to put a lot of impact on your joints. By utilizing yoga-like movements and lighter weights, straps and workout balls, mat pilates is the perfect low-impact workout that some people even practice every day.
You may be thinking, what is the difference between reformer vs. mat pilates? The answer is simple—the reformer. The reformer is a device that was developed by Joseph Pilates himself, made of springs, a padded backboard, and ropes, to help you stretch further into your movements. You can do all of the same things on the ground during your mat work as well with straps, balls, and light weights. So, by learning pilates on a mat, you will be able to go into a reformer class with confidence that you know proper form and avoid injury.
If you would like to try a mat pilates class, check out the group exercise schedule at the Chuze Fitness location nearest you. We offer group exercise at all of our locations and would love to see you join our group exercise community.