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Fitness

WHY PILATES IS GOOD FOR YOU

Claire Chitham

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A pilates instructor for more than 10 years, Claire knows a thing or two about the effectiveness that this unique combo of stretching and resistance training provides.  

So why is Pilates so good for you? Well, the short answer to that question is – because it helps build strength and tone while you’re body is in its most ideal postural form. This improves your overall health and longevity and ability to live a pain-free life. Boom! There’s a reason this form of exercise - one many called a fad back when it first appeared - is still going strong today. 

Pilates can create strength and flexibility (without bulk) in a way that supports all functional movement and structural health. And one of the positive upsides of that is that when we build tone from a place of correct posture, we're also shaping the body in its most ideal way too. 

After doing regular pilates classes for eight months,  I literally stretched myself taller. Yep, I had lengthened my spine by 1.5cm and the marks are still on the wall to prove it! 

I first started pilates in 2003, when I was looking for an exercise regime that wasn’t about doing weights at a gym. I hated exercise. But I desperately needed to get fit if I was to hold down the career that I had going on. I was about to do a four-week season of a demanding play six nights a week, whilst shooting Shortland Street full-time during the day, so I needed energy. I was also sick of seeing my terrible, slouchy posture on screen. Once I tried pilates, I loved it so much that a year later I began training as an instructor and the following year I taught my first-ever class. 

I’ve now taught in different cities and countries over the years and been exposed to many different philosophies and styles. And the one thing I can say, is that I still love the method and style that is taught at my home studio in Auckland - Suna Pilates - the most. Their focus is firstly on educating you about your own body and how it works and then building strength to support your best posture and shape. From there, we make sure to change it up and keep it fun so that boredom doesn’t have a chance to sabotage your #fitnessgoals. 

I love that we have clients of all ages, shapes, sizes and genders. We have taught All Blacks, Tall Blacks and 85-year-old legends all in the same class. The coolest thing is that everyone finds it challenging in their own individual way.

Pilates is also great if you are post-physio, trying to prevent an old injury from flaring up, trying to stay strong for a particular hobby or sport - such as golfing, skiing riding, running or tennis. Really it's an antidote for anything that requires functional movement that you know can be tough on the body. Pilates is also amazing at helping the body perform better. The exercises taught help build strength fro the inside out because it ALWAYS starts with activation from your core. This builds strength around your spine and bones. Plus everything else just flows better once your core has switched on.

More than anything I love the body awareness that pilates has taught me. I know when my posture is letting me down, and what to do to correct it. 

- Yours In Health and Happiness, CC