Pilates Exercise Safety


Pilates, which is an exercise method designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body, is quickly becoming very popular. Unfortunately, many people rush into doing Pilates without knowing the proper safety precautions they should be taking, and do damage to their bodies.

Proper safety precautions should be taken when you do any form of exercise. When you ride a bicycle, you wear the proper clothing and safety equipment, you check your bike to make sure that it is in good repair, and then you follow rules for biking safely out on trails or roads. Pilates is much the same. If you are using equipment, it must be checked to ensure that it is in good repair, and you must know how to properly use the equipment for your safety. Mat exercises require safety precautions as well.

If you are a beginner, you must not try to do advanced Pilates exercises that your body is not ready for. Whether you are taking a Pilates class or using a video at home, never work outside your own comfort level, and never allow an instructor or anyone else to push you to do Pilate exercises that you do not feel that your body is ready for.

Learn to listen to your body and what it is telling you. A little discomfort is expected when exercising - sharp pain is not. If you experience sharp pain, or pain that you do not feel is normal when exercising, stop. Most of the Pilates exercises can be modified to reduce the pain that you are experiencing. Talk with an instructor to find a modification that will work for you.

Talk to your doctor before beginning the Pilates program. The Advanced Pilates mat exercises can be very demanding, and if you are not in shape, the exercises can strain neck and back muscles. Too often, people feel that they should be able to do the advanced exercises, and they push themselves to the point of injury. Start with the Pilates Beginner exercises, then to the Pilates Core exercises (intermediate), then to the Advanced Pilates exercises.

Make sure that you are in the right class, and that the class is being taught for the level it claims. Beginners belong in beginner classes. These classes exist for a reason. You are not only in the beginners’ class to learn the exercises; you are also in the beginners’ class to get your body ready for the intermediate and then the advanced classes. You must crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run.

Try to choose Pilates classes that are small or follow a detailed instruction book with the 3 stages of Pilates training. This will allow you to have more personalized attention, which will help to ensure that you are not doing exercises that your body isn't ready for. Avoid eating before doing Pilates, and make sure that you drink plenty of water before and after your session. Keeping your body well hydrated will reduce soreness.

Featured Instructor Shannon Beaty has been practicing Pilates for over 10 years, and has been a Pilates instructor for over 6 years. She teaches at the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles and oversees their entire Pilates Program.

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Pilates exercise safety