Latest Articles

October 10, 2007

Pilates Exercise – Does It Burn Enough Calories?

By Vanita Gautum

In recent years, Pilates exercise has rivaled yoga as one of the best forms of exercise for women, and while no one can argue that point, what is known is that, because the activities involved are slow and controlled, the amount of calories burned might not be enough to consider using this form of exercise alone.

Pilates exercise leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to cardiovascular improvements and weight loss, so before you jump into the “Electric Chair,” find out what Pilates exercise is all about and whether or not it’s a sound class for you.

What is Pilates exercise?

Born in 1880, Josef Huberus Pilates was a German athlete who was a pioneer in the physical therapy industry. After arriving in New York in the 1920s, Josef set up a studio in the same building as a ballet class.

By the ‘40s, Josef had become renowned in dance circles as the man who could teach people how to do a sequence of slow and controlled movements that transform the body and lead to the development of strong, flexible muscles without producing any bulk.

As well as muscle development, Pilates’ exercise helped improve posture and flexibility, and students weren’t required to commit to a high amount of repetitions.

Josef developed over 500 individual exercises that were performed on the floor or on odd-looking machines, and each exercise targeted the ab muscles , back and glutes because Josef believed that a strong core would improve breathing, strength, flexibility, and the body’s alignment.

Heart improvement lacking

While it’s true that Pilates exercises do improve the stabilizer muscles and may even leave you with a six-pack (you must be thin to begin with, however), it’s also true that the series of exercises you’re doing in the class aren’t doing much in the way of improving your cardio health or eliminating fat.

In a recent study conducted by Auburn University Montgomery in Alabama, results proved that the calories burned during a Pilates class equated what one would burn after mild stretching.

Of course, it isn’t all bad. The more advanced Pilates students managed to burn nearly 500 calories (based on a 165-pound person), while the beginners burned only 276 calories.

The point is that doing Pilates exercise every day of the week may work wonders for your core muscles, but it won’t benefit your heart very much. For that, you will need to perform cardiovascular exercise for at least 3 hours a week.

Cardio Pilates

Believe it or not, Pilates trainers have picked up on the fact that their classes do not offer the heart-pumping challenges that traditional cardiovascular exercise do. They have therefore begun to offer Cardio Pilates, or Cardiolates, exercises.

In the midst of strengthening your core, trainers will get you up and moving to elevate your heart rate, thus resulting in the best of the worlds. Of course, dedicated Pilates trainers may not enjoy these classes as much, especially if they’ve become accustomed to the serene, controlled traditional classes.

But if you want to kill two birds with one stone, Cardio Pilates may be the best alternative to help you get your heart rate up, increase your core strength and save time.

Keep up your Pilates exercise

None of this information is meant to discourage you from doing Pilates exercise; it is a great workout after all, and goes far beyond your everyday ab crunches. But if you aren’t crazy about the idea of Cardiolates, you will definitely need to supplement your Pilates workouts with other types of exercise.

For instance, if you do Pilates exercise twice a week, opt to add 30-minute sessions of cardio 6 times a week to your workout repertoire. As well, throw some strength training into the mix to build muscle all over your body.

Working out should involve an elevated heart rate, and although Pilates exercise is effective in strengthening the core, it does not help to improve cardio fitness the way traditional cardio machines and exercises do.

So get out there, try just about everything and stick to what you enjoy.

No comments:


AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add to Google

Powered by FeedBurner