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How Much Pilates Is Enough to Get the Full Benefits?

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Updated May 10, 2011

Question: How Much Pilates Is Enough to Get the Full Benefits?
Q: I can't find the time to fit all the classical Pilates mat exercises in my workout schedule. Is it possible to perform a selected amount of the exercises and still reap all the benefits of Pilates?
Answer:

It takes about 45 minutes to do the full classical Pilates mat workout at a good tempo. You also need a warm up and hopefully a few minutes of integration time at the end. Add to that the likelihood that you will sweat, and probably need to change clothes, and maybe have a shower. So there is no doubt, a full Pilates workout takes some time - as do any good workouts. Is it worth it? Yes it is. A full Pilates workout, 3 to 4 times a week, at home or at a class, is the perfect way to get all the benefits of Pilates.

Read about ideal Pilates workout schedules.

But the question is: Can you get all benefits of Pilates with less than a full workout? The answer is not all, but many. There are some benefits of Pilates like endurance and the wonderful fluidity of motion and enhanced body/mind integration you get when you are fully warmed up with heart pumping and breath really moving that you won't get with a shorter workout. HOWEVER, you can get lots of benefits from doing shorter workouts or mixing shorter workouts with longer ones in your weekly workout schedule.

It is widely agreed by experts that some physical activity is better than none, and that there is a cumulative effect if exercise is spread over time. You can get benefit from even the smallest Pilates moves performed throughout the day. But, of course, you need to do a little more to truly increase fitness.

Many people find 10- to 20-minute Pilates workouts are effective for them. In fact, many Pilates DVDs focus on shorter mix and match style workouts. Shorter workouts are most effective in the context of an overall fitness program that includes cardio and longer Pilates workouts, but if you only do 10 or 20 minutes a few times a week, you will see positive changes in your body.

If you want to get in shape with Pilates, no matter how much you are doing, it is important to make sure that over the course of your weekly workout schedule you do workouts that are balanced, not merely focused on one or two body areas. One of the many benefits of Pilates, and directives of its practice, is uniform muscular development - and that leads to a host of other benefits. Learn more about how to make wise choices in How to Create your own Workout.

    As for actually scheduling those workouts, here are three effective ways make it happen:

  1. Make the commitment - join the Pilates Workout Diaries and state your intention.
  2. Get and share tips on scheduling from other readers.
  3. Keep an exercise log.

The most important thing is to do something rather than nothing, and do it regularly.

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