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Exercise is a critical factor to maintaining physical health, and there are common-sense guidelines to follow, no matter what kind of exercise you do. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults should do 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Equally important are muscle and bone-strengthening exercises.

Pilates is a good choice because it strengthens muscles and bones using a system of controlled, resistance movement, and because it’s important to engage in activities appropriate to your fitness level and health goals. Pilates is a whole-body system of exercise that offers flexible methods, routines, and levels of intensity to meet the individual needs of each person.

If you are new to the Pilates Method, it may be helpful to keep these six, simple guidelines in mind as you begin your exercise routine.

  1. Wear comfortable, fitted clothing, such as yoga clothing, tights, leotards, or shorts.
  2. Begin every movement at your center (the Powerhouse) and build outward into the arms and legs. The Powerhouse, as mentioned in previous articles, is the area between your ribs and hips and includes your abdominals, diaphragm, gluteal (buttocks), and pelvic muscles. All Pilates exercises work the Powerhouse because it stabilizes the spine and helps you to achieve correct posture.
  3. Maintain correct breathing technique, as directed by your instructor.
  4. Maintain correct form and intensity, concentrating on the movement’s technique, rather than range or repetitions.
  5. Remain relaxed during movement. Imagine strength, coordination, and flow as generating from your energetic center, rather than tensing muscles to achieve the movement.
  6. Work within your ability. If you’re experiencing pain or too much tension while performing an exercise, stop and be sure you’re doing the exercise accurately. If the pain returns or continues, leave that exercise out of your routine or ask your instructor how to modify the exercise to accommodate your body’s needs. One of the benefits of Pilates is its adaptability for different body types and fitness levels, and virtually all Pilates exercises can be adjusted.

Do you have any questions about the Pilates method or stories to share? Please leave a comment.

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Amber Lea Starfire is an author, editor, & teacher whose passion is helping others tell their stories. Author of Week by Week: A Year’s Worth of Journaling Prompts, she enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics, spending time outdoors, and living life to the fullest. Visit www.writingthroughlife.com.

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Image Credit: Sean Dreilinger
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