If you're on social media at all, you may have noticed that Pilates has been popping up again and again on your feed. And for good reason! Whether you're like me and have been clinging to your Mari Winsor Pilates DVD since 2010 or are new to discovering all that Pilates has to offer, there's no timeline on prioritizing moving your body and feeling your best.
We sat down with Ahmé Bovée BA, CPT, Master Instructor and Studio Director/Owner of Pilates in East LLC, to discuss the benefits of Pilates and why it's gaining in popularity once again.
According to Bovée, Pilates—a head-to-toe strength and flexibility workout invented by German-born Joseph Pilates that balances both your mind and body—is for all body types, levels and ages.
"If you have a body, you'll love Pilates," said Bovée, a sought-after Master Pilates instructor, presenter and principal educator. She notes the key is to find a studio that's customized to you and your goals. "Cookie-cutter Pilates and poorly trained instructors have often given people the wrong impression and possibly a bad experience. That is true in every industry. There are the experts and then fast-food versions."
One of the most common things Bovée hears from clients is that Pilates makes them feel confident in their bodies and relieves mental stress. They often leave class feeling strong, centered and rejuvenated. She believes a collective sense of appreciation for good health over the past few years can be attributed to the recent resurgence in Pilates' popularity.
"We've all reevaluated what's truly important to us, and our health and happiness have become a priority. Things like Pilates give us control over the quality of our lives and investing in that is a no-brainer," Bovée said. "The powerful moves you see on TikTok are inspiring. You look at them and your body wants to move that way, you want to feel the way they feel: embodied, strong, flexible, graceful and poised. The good news is Pilates will train you to possess all of those qualities. They are inside you just waiting to be revealed!"
The benefits of Pilates abound, from better posture, balance and overall strength to mental clarity and stress relief.
"It's a holistic method that acknowledges that everything is connected," Bovée explained. "Since the powerhouse of the Pilates system is core strength, every class strengthens your abs and back. The reason it's so effective isn't just strengthening; the key is integrating the core into whole-body functional movements."
While Bovée says Pilates enthusiasts usually do a combination of mat Pilates and equipment Pilates using specialized machines such as the Reformer to get the best results, she acknowledges that the exercise can be done wherever you are.
"You can do Pilates anywhere! All you need is a mat," she said "It can be fun to add in some small props like a ball, or band or use things you have at home, like a chair or wall."
Of course, it's important to speak with your doctor before starting any new fitness regimens.
On the road and can't make it to a studio for a class? Short on time and need to fit in some quick movements? Enter: Wall Pilates. Also popular online, Wall Pilates is a variety of effective exercises you can do specifically using just a nearby wall.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Jun/Jul '23 issue of West Michigan Woman.
Photo Courtesy of Jen Kieff.