Okay, hand's up who's tried Pilates! You haven't? You're not alone. Even though it is one of the world's most popular and effective fitness systems, many of us still haven't given it a go.
Certainly here at BookWell, we plan to try it very soon, given the growing number of amazing Pilates instructors out there.
The great thing about Pilates, is that it is considered safe for all ages, and all physiques and conditions. If you've never exercised before, or you're pregnant, or recovering from surgery, this is probably the safest exercise you can do.
Creator Joseph Pilates described it as 'the art of controlled movements'. And that's why it is considered so safe. There are no big weights to lift, or jarring movements to endure.
So how do you get results?
It’s still a workout. And it works on your core strength, flexibility and endurance. That's probably why it's so popular with professional sportsmen and women, including NRL players!
Pilates is also the exercise of choice for many celebrities. They are easy to spot - they're the ones who look really hot!
Joseph Pilates created this system specifically to help injured athletes and dancers return to full fitness. And because of that, there are no strenuous or straining exercises. It's more to do with focus and concentration.
Pilates stretches and lengthens all your major muscles and, because of that focus on core strength, is fantastic for achieving a flat stomach and a strong back.
The beauty of Pilates is that it can be personalised to suit your body, abilities and goals. And at the end, you come out glowing, rather than sweating!
If you're searching for a Pilates instructor, it could be that you've already heard about the many health benefits it delivers. It's not just physical strength and flexibility, but also improved posture and better circulation.
Go to a Pilates class and you'll start to feel less stressed and more relaxed. Your concentration will improve, as will your coordination and balance.
What's more, one of the biggest benefits of Pilates is that it helps prevent musculoskeletal injuries, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Bursitis and Tendinitis. It is also one of the safest forms of exercise for anyone suffering from osteoporosis.
Many men and women who enjoy yoga find that Pilates is a great addition to their health and fitness regime. There are similarities between the two, such as the focus on concentration, breathing, balance and flexibility.
Whether you choose to attend a Pilates class, or arrange one-on-ones with a Pilates instructor, you will find this an affordable way of getting amazing results. We always recommend choosing a registered Pilates instructor or Pilates centre.
If you're about to enjoy your very first Pilates class, there are a few things you can do to be prepared. The first one is, DON'T WORRY! For starters, if it's a beginners class, they are all beginners, just like you!
And some of the exercise machines may look a bit strange, but you will be shown how to carefully use them.
Of course, our first question was what to wear! Go comfy, but not baggy is the best advice.
There's no need to go and buy expensive Pilates workout gear - and, as you work barefoot, no need for expensive trainers either. Tie back long hair and leave all dangly jewellery in your locker.
All you really need to take is a towel and a water bottle, although some people like to use their own mat for floor work.