Pilates for Moms

Taking care of your health is crucial as a mom, and particularly for new moms. That’s why maintaining a balanced diet and ensuring that you exercise regularly is so important to your overall fitness. Choosing the right exercise is the best way to ensure you will exercise on a regular basis.

One method that is becoming increasingly popular for women, and especially new moms, is Pilates. Pilates is a low-intensity exercise that can be done by women of all ages and fitness levels. In addition, Pilates exercise is particularly beneficial for a new mom because it can help to maintain her health, while toning her muscles and improving overall strength. Some Pilates studios even have special post-natal Pilates programs, which allow you to include your baby, making this type of exercise a great way to bond with your newborn.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise program that is designed to improve the individual’s overall health, as well as to foster a greater awareness of the body.

In addition, Pilates exercises are aimed at improving flexibility and posture, while building muscle strength. While it focuses on conditioning the entire body, Pilates places a special focus on strengthening the body’s core muscles, which are located in the abdomen, pelvis and back. Pilates also helps to calm the mind and improve mental focus, and can also help to prevent and treat a variety of mental health illnesses, such as postpartum depression.

Pilates involves a series of exercises that are performed in a systematic fashion and in a sequential order. Some Pilates exercises require the use of special Pilates equipment, such as a mat.

Types of Pilates

There are many different types of Pilates currently being practiced throughout the world.

The two main types of Pilates methods are:

  • Traditional Pilates: this type of Pilates includes over 100 exercises that were developed by Joseph Pilates, a German-born physicist who developed Pilates in the 1920s. This type of plates method combines various elements of yoga with ancient Greek exercise routines. The focus of traditional Pilates is to improve the strength of the body’s core muscles in order to promote health and fitness.
  • Stott Pilates: this Pilates method was created by a professional dancer and a team of sports medicine experts. While it is based on Joseph Pilates’ traditional method, Stott Pilates has modified many of Pilates’ original exercises in order to make them safer and more accessible to a wider range of people. In addition, Stott Pilates includes activities that are anatomically correct and that provide extra support to the neck, back and spine, making this Pilates method especially beneficial to pregnant women, new moms, and individuals recovering from injury.

Types of Pilates Exercises

There are two main types of Pilates exercises:

  • mat work: these Pilates exercises require the use of a Pilates mat, which is similar to a yoga mat. Pilates contains over 40 different mat exercises, which are performed while lying on the back, side and stomach. Pilates mat exercises work the core muscles while using the body’s natural weight in order to improve resistance. Mat exercises can also be performed using additional Pilates equipment, such as a toning ring, weight ball and bean bags.
  • reform exercises: introduced by Joseph Pilates, this type of Pilates exercise uses specialized resistance equipment. A Pilates reformer is a spring-loaded machine with a moving carriage that increases resistance and therefore provides more vigorous training. A reformer is moved by pressing on a foot bar or by tugging on special pulleys. You can purchase a Pilates reformer either at a Pilates studio or at a fitness equipment store.

    The Benefits of Pilates Exercises

    There are a variety of health benefits associated with starting Pilates exercise, including the following:

    • improved balance
    • improved posture
    • improved circulation
    • improved body strength
    • strengthened muscles
    • reduced stress levels

    Combined with a healthy diet and cardio exercise, Pilates exercise can help to improve an individual’s overall mental and physical health.

    Pilates for New Moms

    While Pilates exercises can be done by almost any individual, including children over the age of 12 and individuals recovering from injuries, Pilates has particular health benefits for new moms.

    The benefits of Pilates for new moms include:

    • helping moms to get back into shape by toning and flattening stomach muscles
    • improving flexibility and posture, which is important for carrying your baby around
    • improving arm strength, which is important for lifting your baby from the stroller, crib or car seat

    In addition, some Pilates studios have special post-natal Pilates programs that are designed for both mom and baby.

    Generally, it is safe for new moms to practice Pilates 6 weeks after the birth of their baby (whether it be a C-section or vaginal). However, it is always advisable to check with your doctor before beginning any post-partum fitness routine.

    Newborns should be 2 to 6 months old in order to start participating in Pilates classes; the only equipment babies need is a bouncy chair or a supportive pillow in order to prevent injury.

    Participating in a post-natal Pilates program is an excellent way in which to bond with your new baby.