Q: I am new to Pilates. What should I look for in a teacher?
A: Ask your teacher where and when they were certified. If the certificate is not displayed anywhere, ask to see it. Don’t be shy. Do your research online. During the initial consultation, the teacher should ask you about your previous and present injuries. If he/she doesn’t, you might think twice before you go further. A good teacher should be knowledgable about the human body. He/she has to be detail oriented and thorough in correcting your body’s positioning during an exercise. Pilates focuses on precision and stability of the core, and so should the teacher. If a teacher makes small talk through the session, it is not the teacher you want.
Q: Will Pilates help me lose weight?
A: Yes. You will gain lean muscle and tighten up, you may lose inches from your waist. However, Pilates should not be your only source of exercise. It is an anaerobic type of activity. It will cater to the fast twitching muscles which perform in high intensity but low endurance activities. You will become much stronger and more connected in your core, gain stability. But your heart needs aerobic activity to gain strength.
Q: Will Pilates help me with my posture?
A: Absolutely. By strengthening your core muscles, you will gain more balance in your structure. Your energy expenditure will become more succinct. Your body mechanics will change helping correct bad habits.
Q: Can I take Pilates classes if I have scoliosis?
A: Pilates is a fantastic way to cope with your scoliosis and even correct it to some extent. The main goal of Pilates is to concentrate on flexibility and balance of the spine. A knowledgeable instructor will be able to take you through many corrective isolation exercises for related groups of muscles.
Q: I am pregnant. Can I do Pilates?
A: Yes, unless you haven’t had a single day of exercise in your life prior to your pregnancy. There are many benefits to doing Pilates while pregnant. Your body is changing drastically: your center of gravity is shifting due to your weight gain; you are becoming more flexible in the joints; your back hurts due to the anterior shift in the abdominal area; your chest grows heavier making your upper back weaker. All of these changes can be addressed by Pilates exercise.
Q: My Physical Therapist prescribed Pilates for my injury. Where should I go next?
A: Usually, your physical therapist would refer you to a Pilates instructor. The instructor has to be a licensed physical therapist (PT or DPT), or a physical therapy assistant (PTA), or he/she must teach at the referring PT office with the PT on the premises during the session. However, if you are past the acute stages and have been released by the PT to exercise, you can do your research about Pilates teachers in the area with the best track record. Our advice, try a couple until you find the one who is the most knowledgeable.
Q: How does Pilates differ from running or spinning?
A: Pilates is an anaerobic activity that strengthens your core muscles, balance, coordination, improves muscle condition and corrects posture. It does not condition your heart nearly as well as aerobic activities, such as running and spinning. Aerobic and anaerobic activities are not mutually exclusive. You should find time to do both types of exercise to maintain well-being of your body.
Q: Can I listen to my iPod while performing Pilates exercises?
A: Absolutely not. You should be able to hear your teacher’s instructions, as well as your own breathing patterns and inner rhythm. It is also important that you are not distracted by anything from focusing on your own body, and the mind-body connection.