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Two of the most popular are yoga and Pilates each of which works all the muscles groups and improves your overall posture as well. However, choosing the right one for you will require a bit of understanding as to what each exercise does, the effect it has and the long-term benefits that will be gained. Here, we will examine these two types of exercise so you make the best informed decision about which one to choose as your exercise program.
Essentially, yoga is the combination of the mind and body, bringing together three important elements, meditation, exercise and breathing into one form. Yoga improves your overall flexibility and the strength of your posture as well. Developed over thousands of years and based on ancient Indian philosophy, Yoga has evolved into a more gentle form of exercise that also addresses the effects of stress as well. The exercise itself is really a series of rigid poses that are performed with an eye on proper breathing and the right mindset.
What are the Benefits of Yoga
Those who regularly perform yoga experience many different health benefits, including better overall fitness, reduced stress, a better regulation of blood pressure and increased feelings of well being. This is because yoga incorporates powerful meditation techniques into the exercise program itself. With a history of over 500 years, yoga has developed into a form of exercise that truly works with the body. Cardiovascular System: Yoga is based on holding tension in the muscles for an extended period of time which improves blood flow and the overall fitness of the muscles and reduces blood pressure. Mobility: Yoga uses exercises that push the joints to their full range of mobility. Plus, flexibility is increased as well thanks to the continued stretching. Such efforts can improve posture, relieve back pain and even fight the effects of osteoporosis. Nervous System: Easing tension in the muscles and focusing the mind with proper breathing can reduce stress, fatigue and feelings of anxiety. In addition, people enjoy better concentration and higher energy levels as well. Digestive: The increased blood circulation also helps the muscles speed up the digestive process. In essence, the exercises performed in yoga work on the glandular system of your body to help increase efficiency and improve your overall health and well being. Meditation serves as the central tenant in combining exercise and proper breathing in order to achieve a quiet state of being. In addition to the health benefits, yoga develops a considerable amount of discipline in achieving a nearly perfect state of being.
What is Pilates?
Created by physical trainer Joseph Pilates during the 1920s, the original intention of this form of exercise was to bring back injured dancers and athletes back into top physical condition while minimizing the stress on the body so as not to aggravate the injury. Since then, it has been developed and refined as an exercise for everyone. Pilates is a form of yoga, but incorporates both aerobic and non-aerobic forms of exercise as well. The yoga aspect comes into play during the exercise routines that require concentration and balance while all exercises are based on achieving a precise placement, breathing pattern and rhythm as well. Although arguably more intense than yoga, Pilates does not work the body to exhaustion. There is intense concentration and exercise sequences have few repetitions with some requiring resistance work. In addition, the Pilates exercises used are designed to the individual no matter their fitness level. However, unlike yoga which is based on holding static positions, Pilates is based on getting into unstable positions and holding them as long as possible. This key difference is what separates the two types of exercises. There are two types of Pilates exercise, the mat-based and equipment-based forms. Mat-based is performed on the floor and uses gravity as the resistance factor while equipment-based uses specific pieces of muscle-toning equipment to achieve results, including using free weights and a movable carriage called a “reformer” in which you push and pull your body.
What are the Benefits to Pilates?
There are a number of benefits that Pilates brings to the body when performed correctly. The results are that this particular set of exercises delivers benefits that are somewhat similar to yoga, but also have a other benefits as well. Flexibility: Because the muscles are properly stretched during the exercises, flexibility is increased to a higher level than before. Muscle Tone: The overall strength and tone of the muscles, particular in the hips, buttocks, the lower back and abdominal area are improved. Better Posture: In addition to having better posture, these exercises help balance the strength of your muscles on each side. Plus, you have better, overall control of your muscles as well to help prevent injury. Improved Mental Focus: Your concentration is better along with better body awareness, reduces stress and increased relaxation. Overall, Pilates brings quite a number of benefits to the body, particularly for those who are athletes or recovering from injuries. However, Pilates works for all types of people no matter their fitness level.
Is Yoga or Pilates Better for You?
Naturally, it will depend on what your interest is in terms of which exercise to perform. Yoga provides better overall concentration and its meditative qualities are unsurpassed. Pilates is more physical in nature and may provide a better, overall tone to the muscles of the body, particularly if certain types of equipment are used to increase the resistance to build muscle tissue. Generally speaking, both forms of exercise will work for virtually anyone, the difference lies more in the goal of what is trying to be achieved. Pilates works best for those trying to achieve a longer, leaner body with better overall muscle tone while yoga is more suited towards meditation and relaxation that also tones the body as well.