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Daily Pilates?

How to Make a Daily Workout Safe and Effective


Updated July 17, 2014

Kristian Sekulic/E+/Getty Images

It is not necessary to do Pilates everyday to reap the rewards, though the founder of Pilates, Joseph Pilates, did recommend doing at least 10 minutes every day.

Actually, doing Pilates just a few times a week is sufficient to create positive changes. But once the benefits of Pilates start kicking in, many of us are inspired to do Pilates as often as we can.

The questions then arise: "How regularly can I do a Pilates workout?" and "Is it safe and beneficial to do Pilates every day?" Let's take a look at some concerns people have about daily workouts, how Pilates is adaptable to daily training, and what you will want to keep in mind as you create a balanced Pilates workout routine.

Pilates and Strength Training

Many people who regularly do strength training and other higher intensity exercise systems know that they need to take time off between workouts - in order to build strength you have to tax the muscle enough to tear it down a bit. Then, the muscle rebuilds stronger than it was before.

Pilates is a form of moderate strength training and challenging Pilates workout will breakdown muscle, thereby promoting the build up of stronger muscles. However, a big difference between Pilates and regular strength training is that in Pilates we are also working toward body/mind integration and educating the body to move more efficiently. To this end, Pilates workouts will emphasize things like awareness, functional alignment, breath and co-ordination. This multidimensional approach gives us the opportunity to shift the focus of our workouts, making it possible to do a safe and interesting workout everyday.

Variety Balances a Pilates Workout

Joseph Pilates firmly believed that the workout should be varied, and that the way to maximize the effect of each move was by doing it with full attention, not with too much repetition. Taking a cue from Joe, we want work different muscle groups, shift intensity levels, and balance our exercises in terms of flexion and extension within each workout, and in our workouts over time. Repeating the same workout everyday could result in an unbalanced routine that becomes as boring as doing too many reps in a session.

Contrology [Pilates] is not a fatiguing system of dull, boring, abhorred exercises repeated daily ad-nauseam.....The only unchanging rules you must conscientiously obey are that you must always faithfully and without deviation follow the instructions accompanying the exercises and always keep your mind wholly concentrated on the purpose of the exercises as you perform them.
Joseph Pilates

Find Your Rhythm

The best idea is to use variety to your advantage. This will have a lot to do with tuning into yourself and adjusting your focus and energy levels for any given day. A good rhythm for doing Pilates workouts over time might be to do a physically challenging workout one day and follow up with a day or two that are easier on the muscles. Use those days to emphasize the integration of the Pilates principles into your workout. For example, you could do a day of focusing on working with full attention and doing the moves in an easy flowing manner. Then, bring those elements into another more physically demanding workout the next day. This way, the muscles get to rest and re-build for strength while you continue to train.

Bottom Line

So, the answer to our "daily Pilates?" question is YES, you can do Pilates safely and effectively every day. The key is to vary the workouts, keep them interesting, and if a particular muscle group is challenged one day, give it just a moderate workout the next. That probably means that you will be doing some shorter workouts on your own, and that you won't want to go to an intermediate or advanced level class every day.

More ideas on keeping your workout interesting and effective:
Creating Variety in Your Pilates Workouts
Seven Ways to Maximize Your Pilates Classes

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