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Pilates as a Key to Weight Loss

Aug 17, 2007
Americans are getting heavier all the time. As researchers learn more about the physiology of weight loss, it is becoming increasingly apparent that weight training is essential. Pilates is a system of calisthenics that is as helpful as weight lifting for building muscle mass and strength. It was developed by a circus acrobat almost one hundred years ago, and has been a trade secret of dancers and gymnasts ever since.

You may be wondering about the statement above about increasing muscle mass. Women are often reluctant to do weight training exercises because they are afraid of developing large muscles like men. The truth is that women's hormones basically prevent this from happening. What weight training will do for women is make them stronger and leaner, more efficient at fat burning, with better definition of the muscles.

Pilates increases strength, but does not require lifting weights. Instead, the body makes its own resistance. Unlike other exercises, however, Pilates exercises require you to slow down and concentrate on your body, similar to the meditation you do when doing yoga. And, like yoga, flexibility is stressed as well as strength.

Learning and doing Pilates exercises will help you reach your weight loss goals by increasing your muscle mass. Muscles burn many times the amount of calories, even while resting, as that burned by fat tissue. Muscle also takes up much less space. This means that a muscular person might weigh more than a flabby person, but wear a smaller size of clothes.

For Pilates to work well as a key to weight loss, the exercises need to be used in connection with a diet that takes in fewer calories than those burned. The third component of a great weight loss plan is a consistent practice of aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, or doing aerobic dance. The aerobic exercise will cause even more calories to be burned by those well-toned muscles.

When someone says they want to lose weight, what they really usually mean is that they want to look leaner, fit into a smaller size of clothes, and have less loose flab on their body. It's possible to meet these goals without losing an ounce by toning the muscles through exercises like Pilates and weight training. However, if you quite a bit overweight, the pound number is bound to go down too as you increase your exercise and decrease your food intake.

The Pilates method differs from other exercises in that it shoots for more intensity with fewer repetitions. It focuses on strengthening the core muscles of the body, such as the abdominals and the buttocks, while stretching and lengthening the arm and leg muscles. It can be done in a fluid, yoga-like way, or in a powerful, strong way. This makes Pilates an excellent form of exercise for both men and women who wish to lose weight.

Losing weight usually requires making changes in the diet as well as increasing the overall activity level of the body. By adding Pilates to the mix, the muscles are strengthened, the whole body kept flexible, and more calories will ultimately be burned.
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