Pilates: A first timer's guide
Last, but not least on our fitness class bucket list is Pilates, a system of exercises designed to improve physical strength, flexibility and posture. Based on either mat work or Pilates apparatus, the exercises rely heavily on resistance from one's own body weight.
Though Pilates doesn't sound as intimidating as a boot camp or indoor cycling class, the terminology and equipment often used can create some cause for concern for first timers. Our Danskin team member was excited to try the class, but was a little hesitant for said reasons as well the fact that core strength and flexibility aren't really her forte.
What to Expect:
Expect to start moving from the start while you learn the basics and work to develop core stability. While exercises are adaptable to your fitness level, engaging your core muscles, while also focusing on breathing and form for about an hour is no easy feat. Our Danskin volunteer said, "By the end of the class, I was sweating and shaking. I was so sore the next day after working out muscles I had no idea I had."
The instructor also made the class more enjoyable. She made sure to come around to check on everyone's form. She corrected movements to make sure everyone was getting the best workout possible and also stressed the importance of listening to your body. If something hurt or didn't feel right, she advised class participants either adapt the exercise or take a break.
Pretty intense. Pilates is low impact, but requires a lot of concentration and control. You may not be sprinting or lifting heavy weights, but using your own body weight as resistance is a challenge that you definitely feel the next day.
Medium. You're not going to leave class with a soaking-wet shirt, but the exercises and concentration will absolutely make you break a sweat.
Do not let yourself be intimidated by what the rest of the class is doing. Move at your own pace and don't be afraid to ask for help. Also because the instructor is so involved in your practice, it is important to wear fitted clothing that still provides coverage. The instructor needs to be able to see your body so that he or she can correct your movements when necessary. We recommend a seamless bra that provides support but is easy to move around in, wide-waisted leggings for added coverage, and the pin-tuck tee shirt for a touch of style.
Have you taken a Pilates class recently? Classes differ depending on where you go and which type you take (mat or apparatus) so make sure you do your research, read reviews and ask your friends for suggestions.
Also, make sure to check out the rest of our fitness class experiences, and share yours with us on our Facebook page and Twitter!