Health & Fitness

Pilates and the health benefits explained

The BB team caught up with Cat Couzens, a passionate and qualified Pilates Teacher, to talk Pilates and find out what the health benefits are. This is what Cat had to say….

What exactly is Pilates?

Pilates has become very popular but some people don’t understand what is it, are a bit skeptical and hence don’t feel it is for them.
Sadly it could be scaring away people who would benefit most.
Pilates is an exercise system dating back to the 1920’s – designed by a man, Joseph Pilates, for soldiers during the war. (Funny how today it is misconceived as an exercise for women, but that’s a discussion for another day)

However, today Pilates is for every-body, it is a full bodywork out. Emphasizing core strength, flexibility and awareness, in order to move more efficiently with ease and grace.
The original 34 exercises, known as classical Pilates, are a mix of beginner, intermediate and advance level, practiced in a certain order with precision, rhythm and flow. In today’s lifestyle, getting to the level to complete all 34 is a journey we are on together.

The aim of a Pilates class is to work towards some of these exercises. Every move that is taught is a preparation towards one or more of the classical exercises. Modification is the key to success, so clients move in a safe range for their bodies but over time begin to see progress and change.
Some of the many benefits

Improved alignment and posture –
This is the common root cause to most aches and pains in the body. Every pilates exercise is about lengthening and strengthening offering better posture and awareness. Most of us are so comfortable with sitting slumped because it has become the ‘normal’ for our bodies. A Pilates class will encourage you to align your spine and move your body from the optimal place. Movement patterns begin to change and shift and those daily aches and pains become more infrequent.

Abdominal/ Core strength –
This is often the culprit for backache if your centre is weak. A weak core creates instability. Pilates teaches you how to engage and activate from your centre, the deep internal muscles of the abdomen and back, supporting your body, spine and movement so you are strong, stable and powerful.

Reduces stress
Many of us find ourselves divorced from our own bodies Pilates really connects the mind and body – freeing up headspace in a world of ‘busy’.
Breathing is one of the key principles of Pilates and learning to breathe to full capacity releases tension throughout the body, helping to relax overactive muscles to move with more ease.

It doesn’t matter what age you are; the amazing thing about Pilates is it is suitable for every-body – 65+, post natal, rehabilitating after injury or surgery.
So if you want to improve your general health, wellbeing and fitness Pilates can be the perfect addition to your routine.

Cat is a passionate Pilates Teacher, a busy wife & mum of two young children, living in Weybridge.
Having lived in London and New York, working in Advertising, Fashion PR, and running her own business – she wanted to calm the pace, do something she loved while helping people.
Pilates teaching was a pipeline dream. She became addicted when it cured her back pain she’d suffered for years she never looked back. It eased her through two pregnancies, regaining strength post natal and generally bought a sense of wellbeing.
Cat took a leap of faith, embarked on the 14-month training in West London and still teaches in the area and in addition now nearer to home where she has settled in Surrey.

To find out more about Cat’s classes you can email her catherine.couzens@yahoo.co.uk
She teaches group mat classes, 1-2-1, duets and corporate classes

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