I came across this article “10 Shocking Fitness Tips” on the Internet and it has this to say about women:
“Ladies, while your workouts may keep you fit and slim, research suggests that women are failing in one key aspect when it comes to exercise – improving strength. In fact, studies suggest that women are weaker than they have ever been, partly because many focus purely on weight loss rather than strength. Concerns that muscles aren’t feminine are also a key factor in ladies’ dwindling strength. However, while you may not care about visibly gaining muscles, poor muscle strength has many implications for our health, including increased risk of osteoporosis and back and joint pain.”
Strength training is traditionally done in the gyms but more and more people are now aware that Pilates training is also strength training but without the bulk. As such Pilates Training is a great system to address the concern that muscles aren’t feminine.
How is Pilates Training different compared to other forms of strength training (e.g. weight lifting)?
Firstly, strength training on Pilates equipment uses springs as resistance. Spring resistance provides both the concentric and eccentric work and the latter are important in building strong and lean muscles vs bulky muscles. What does this mean? See the arm press on the ped-i-pul (Picture below).
Arm muscles contract concentrically to press the straps down and eccentrically when lifting the arms up – to avoid the springs from jerking the arms up. It is a movement that builds strength and develops toned muscles.
Secondly, Pilates training combines strength with movement. See the picture below. Both the legs and arms are working and it is the integration of both the upper and lower body that is functional for the human movement.
Thirdly, Pilates is for most people. The various Pilates equipment make the system accessible to even people with physical issues such as back pain, knee pain and senior citizens who have not exercised before.
In a study in 2006, it is estimated that there were about 55,000 female Singaporeans above the age of 50 suffering from osteoporosis, and statistics indicate osteoporosis is likely to increase as the population in Singapore is aging rapidly. However, osteoporosis can be prevented if women do strength training on a regular basis and adopt a healthy lifestyle e.g. no smoking and no excessive alcohol consumption.