Mat Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on core strength training, flexibility and body awareness. Joseph Pilates created it in the early 1900s. He originally designed wooden equipment to perform the exercises to help his clients rehabilitate after suffering injuries. Now, Mat Pilates can be performed with or without equipment. Some people prefer exercising on a mat while others prefer using specialized equipment like the Reformer or the Cadillac/ Wunda Chair.
Below are some safety tips to keep in mind during any Mat Pilates workout that everyone should know before trying out this highly effective type of exercise:
1) Make sure to get your doctor’s go-ahead before choosing any form of exercise
When beginning any new physical activity, the first rule is getting your physician’s approval. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing conditions or are pregnant. Pilates, in general, is a low-impact exercise and is generally safe for most people. However, it’s always best to check with your doctor to be sure.
2) Always use proper form
When performing any Pilates exercises, it’s important to use the correct form. This will help ensure that you’re getting the most out of the exercises and minimizing the risk of injury. When performing new exercises, take it extra slow to ensure your form is good and there is no discomfort. Consult an instructor if you’re unsure about doing a particular exercise properly.
3) Make sure the studio, gym or program is reputable
One way to ensure safety when practicing Mat Pilates is to make sure the studio or gym where you’re working out is reputable. Ensure that your instructor is suitable qualified.
4) Learn how to breathe correctly
Another important thing to keep in mind when exercising is proper breathing techniques. The breath should always be controlled and rhythmic. Many instructors will also tell you to inhale during long holds or challenging exercises like Single Leg Circles or Hundred and exhale as you perform repetitions. This kind of breathing helps keep your blood pressure low while increasing energy levels. It also improves concentration during exercise by reducing distractions from outside stimuli.
5) Keep your core engaged, especially when lying on your mat and lifting your legs
Exercises such as the Hundred involve lying flat on your back and raising your legs. It’s best to lift your legs in a controlled manner, bending the legs initially in order to lift your legs whilst maintaining an engaged core.
6) Use supportive equipment as required
The use of items such as towels, blankets or blocks can help support you in the performance of some exercises. This additional support can help you maintain proper form safely during your exercise.
7) Take your time exiting inverted exercises
Some Pilates exercises are performed in an inverted position, i.e., with your feet up in the air. Take your time returning to a seated or standing position after being in an inverted position. This helps prevent dizziness from the sudden changes in position.
8) Stop immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort
Listen to your body. Stop immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort while performing any exercises. It’s better to take it slow than push through the pain and risk injuring yourself. Remember, it’s always best to consult your doctor before beginning any new physical activity.
9) Ensure mats and other equipment are clean and sanitized
Ideally, use your own mat that you can personally keep clean and sanitized. If you are practicing Pilates in a facility where mats are shared, ensure appropriate sanitization of the mats is maintained.
10) Keep Hydrated
This last safety tip isn’t specific to Pilates but is important for any workout. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your session. This will help keep you hydrated helping you to exercise safely.