Water Pilates is exactly what it sounds like – Pilates exercises performed in the water - however it differs in several ways to conventional Pilates lessons.
The first difference is obvious and that is that water Pilates cannot be performed on a mat on the floor at the bottom of a pool! Another big difference is that a short aerobic routine is also included in the Water Pilates lesson. This is necessary to stop people from becoming too cold while in the water.
However the basic principles of Pilates remain the same and exercises performed in the water target the core ‘postural’ muscles of the stomach and back.
The legs and arms are also targeted by the Pilates system of exercises. These small movements work the body’s deeper muscles and help to create a longer and leaner, toned physique.
What are the benefits of doing Pilates in water?
It takes a lot of effort to work your core muscles when on dry land so when you perform Pilates exercises in the water the effect is even more intense. This makes water Pilates a fun and challenging way to exercise.
Being in the water also means that less strain is put on your back and joints making it a safe form of exercise for anyone who has a weakness in these areas. Although you will need to have a good sense of balance!
Will I need any special equipment?
Sometimes special water floats are used to help with the exercises. These are usually the foam ‘roller’ tube type of floats and will be provided by your instructor.
Foam rollers help you to perform leg stretches, act as a resistance aid and can be pushed down into the water to work the arm and shoulder muscles. The buoyancy of the float and the resistance from the water means that your workout will be more intense than it would be on dry land.
Who is water Pilates suitable for?
Water Pilates is suitable for swimmers and non-swimmers alike as your feet remain on the bottom of the pool throughout the workout, there is no swimming involved. If you are not a confident swimmer then it may be possible to hold onto the side of the pool to perform the exercises. Simply notify your instructor before you begin.
This is a good form of exercise no matter what your level of fitness is because water Pilates exercises can be modified and made easier or more challenging depending on your needs.