The benefits of “mindful” exercises such as Pilates are well known, helping to develop breathing and relaxation techniques, as well as improving posture, strength and flexibility. So, if you’re thinking of joining a class this year and want to know what you need to be on top form for your first session, read our top tips from Annette Thomas, Pilates Instructor at http://annettethomas.co.uk/
- Streamlined style: Even though Pilates is a more gentle form of exercise compared to high intensity or cardio workouts, don’t make the mistake of wearing clothing that is too baggy. Choose comfortable, but stretchy workout clothing so that your instructor can see the alignment of your body and symmetry during class. Some of the more challenging exercises can also be quite compromising – so if you’re clothing is too loose it could gape or get in the way of your moves!
- Dare to bare: Pilates is usually done barefoot so that your foot and ankle movement is unrestricted and your instructor can assess you have the right foot alignment and posture. So, the good news is that there’s no need to splash out on expensive trainers! However, if you’re reluctant to get your feet out on show, then you may want to give them some TLC. At home treatments such as Footner Exfoliating Socks make use of the skin’s natural process to rid your feet from dead skin build-up and can leave you with baby-soft feet in just one quick and easy 60-minute application!
- Keep it simple: Zips, buckles and buttons can be uncomfortable when you’re lying on your back and belts, jewellery and drawstrings can get be dangerous if they are caught in the springs of Pilates equipment and cause an injury – or simply be distracting.
- Tame your mane: all Pilates exercises are founded on the principles of precise movement, control and correct muscle activation – so it’s important that you’re as focused as possible. So, if you have long hair, then tie it back so it’s out of your face and you can concentrate on your moves!
- Mat attack: many gyms and Pilates / yoga studios provide equipment for the workout. However, many people do like to work out on their own mat and for Pilates in particular, the mats are often thicker than to provide more cushioning and padding. You also might be surprised that the exercises can be relatively strenuous, and some people work up a sweat – so it can useful to bring a towel.