Pilates builds core, improves flexibility and balance
Meredith Limberis of Alpharetta was an active, athletic mother of three before a head-on crash last year left her with serious injuries, including a broken back. After back surgery last fall, Limberis was ready to reclaim her active lifestyle and looked for a low-impact exercise to participate in. After researching the exercise options that would best benefit her, Limberis decided to try Pilates.
“The neurosurgeon stressed the importance of strengthening my core to protect my back from further injury,” said Limberis.
She recruited her friend and neighbor, Paige Bauer, who was also looking for an exercise routine that would strengthen her core muscles and help her tennis game.
The Product: Pilates. Although the “rage” of Pilates hit the US about a decade ago, it has actually been around since the early 1900’s. Today, there are more than 14,000 Pilates instructors teaching more than 11 million students.
The Promise: Pilates is body conditioning routine that helps build flexibility and long, lean muscles. It puts special emphasis on spinal alignment, increasing oxygen flow to muscles, improving balance and coordination, and developing a strong core by toning abdominal muscles while strengthening the back.
The Test: Paige and Meredith began with one Pilates class a week at the Alpharetta LifeTime Fitness facility, and recently increased it to twice a week.
The Results: “After the first class we were amazed at how sore we felt from head to toe the next day (the good kind of sore that shows you got a good workout!) We knew Pilates targeted the core muscles, but were surprised at how it really is a full body workout…which is great. We’ve been going to Pilates classes about six weeks now and love the class, as well as the individual attention from our Pilates instructor, Ramie Jordan. Anyone can do Pilates, regardless of age or fitness level, but it really helps to learn the basics of Pilates first. As you progress, the exercises become more demanding. It does not require any special equipment, other than Yoga/Pilates socks, and most people feel comfortable in yoga type pants with any type of athletic top. After six weeks, we have noticed increased strength and flexibility, and plan to continue the classes for a long time.”
The Rating: Four out of Four stars
—By Candy Waylock