Whether you are an athlete or not, having a good level of stamina helps you to keep in good health. For those that know the term but are not quite sure what it means for the daily context, stamina is the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort. As you get older it takes more effort to keep a good level of stamina. This is often where people can become disheartened as it can take a while to see the benefits. Pilates is great for building stamina that fits you and your lifestyle, instead of slaving away in the gym, not quite sure whether what you are doing is correct.
In Pilates, the controlled and deliberate movements and exercises may not feel the same as gaining strength through weight training, but you are actually building muscle and strength in a way that weight training doesn’t allow you to. The common mantra in a gym is ‘bigger, faster, stronger’, whereas in Pilates it is ‘longer, smoother, less’. This is because you are able to target specific muscle groups in your body and if you are doing it right you can really feel the muscles working. This is a fantastic benefit for anyone, no matter your current level of fitness. For example, during my Pilates journey, Chris helped me to target my outer hamstrings. By working on my outer hamstrings it allowed me to help correct my posture as I was relying on the strength of my hip flexors, which I had gained through gym work. This increased my overall stamina when I was in the gym doing cardio, for instance, as I was not solely relying on one muscle group to carry me through my workout.
A real strong point of Pilates to build stamina is that it teaches you how to utilise your lungs as breathing is a core principle and part of each movement. Most of us are not making full use of our diaphragm when breathing deeply. This means that, for the majority of us, there is already an area to work on to increase stamina before you even get down to the exercises. As concentration on breath allows us to turn inwards, there are also positive effects on your mental health stamina too. Studies have shown that Pilates can help to improve your mood, sleep quality and relieve anxiety.
Pilates is about channelling into a muscle group to work hard but to feel the sensation of it working hard rather than push away from it. Unlike in the gym, where the usual mentality is to work as hard as possible until your arms and legs are aching. This is where the true strength of Pilates comes in for building stamina for both the body and the mind as you are connecting both together to work in tandem together.
Wondering if Pilates is for you? Get in touch with Chris today to find out more about incorporating it into your training and to book an assessment class.