Feel Great

Spring Break Edition: Makeover Your Middle

by Rachel Tipovski, blogger

For many people, strengthening and toning their core is often the most challenging area. With spring break and the summer months approaching quickly, the gyms seem to be getting fuller and fuller. When all the machines at the gym are taken, try Pilates for a total body tightening work out.

Pilates challenges all of your muscles through resistance training, which uses your own body weight. There are no weights involved, no running, and no jumping up and down. In fact, most of the movements can be done while you are seated on the floor. Pilates is the perfect way to get long and lean muscles. In just 30 short minutes, you can burn about 100 calories while strengthening and toning.

Pilates can be done as mat exercises or with equipment to tone and strengthen the body. This method of exercise can also help to improve posture, lengthen the spine, sculpt muscles and people who do Pilates are less prone to injury.

Joseph Pilates, founder of the method, believed physical and mental health are intertwined. The exercise program is designed around this belief. All of the movements are based around concentration, precision, and breathing. Pilates has been the exercise of choice for decades among dancers and gymnasts and more recently, Hollywood actors. Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, Cameron Diaz and Uma Thurman are all fans of the Pilates workout.

Julia Basso, junior at Rutgers University, loved her Pilates classes so much she got certified to train and teach herself. Basso is a dancer and loves how Pilates increases her flexibility and long lean muscles without any added bulk. One of the most important aspects of Pilates is paying attention to detail, Basso says.

“The control you have over your body movements has to be precise or you won’t get the results you desire. It’s important to work with a trainer, or find a class with an instructor who really pays attention to the way you’re positioning your body while doing the movements,” Basso says.

With so little time to get in shape, you can see a difference in your body after a few Pilates workouts.