Adding Cardio to a Pilates Workout
Aerobic exercise is essential to any fitness regime but Pilates does not generally give an aerobic workout until you reach an advanced level.
Twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic exercise a week is the recommended minimum. Aerobic exercise is any exercise that increases heart rate and breathing rate for a sustained period of time, increasing the flow of oxygen and blood to all parts of the body. Aerobic exercise or cardiovascular training increases lean muscle, decreases intramuscular and subcutaneous fat, improves circulation, elevates metabolism, increases energy and stamina, promotes more restful sleep, reduces mild depression, improves appearance, increases immune function by increasing white blood cell count, and increases HDL and decreases LDL cholesterol levels.
These are several good ways to complement your Pilates workout with some aerobic exercise.
Dancing is a great addition to any Pilates workout. Tango, tap, ballet, and modern dance all require coordination and the skills taught in Pilates. If you are already a dancer, Pilates will help improve your technique, balance, stamina, and core control.
Swimming is also a great compliment to Pilates. It is a non-impact resistance exercise because the water acts as resistance as you stretch your arms and kick your legs. This creates resistance without impact and builds long and lean muscles in much the same way as Pilates does. You can also use your Pilates body awareness and core strength to improve your swimming technique.
An elliptical machine, stationary bicycle, or treadmill will add a good aerobic extra to your fitness regime. Many large gyms have an assortment of aerobic equipment for a varied workout. Regular endurance training will enhance your Pilates workout along with everyday stamina.
Walking is a great non-impact aerobic form of exercise that can also help clear the mind. You can use the techniques of proper body alignment you have learned in Pilates to improve your gait.
Although not aerobic, yoga is a great addition to any Pilates fitness training program. Yoga increases flexibility opens up the body and helps increase the range of motion in the spine, hips, and shoulders. As yoga is focused on stretching out the muscles and joints, it is an excellent accompaniment to Pilates.
Many Pilates exercises are difficult without a certain amount of flexibility. Adding yoga to your routine will make the body more flexible so some of the more tricky Pilates positions become easier to attain.
The Reformer ‘Jump Board’
Once you have reached a fairly advanced level in Pilates and are training in a well-equipped studio, it is possible to get a good cardio workout by using a jump board attached to the end of a reformer. This can provide a good twenty or thirty-minute session of jumping while lying down on the reformer. A good instructor will guide you through your workout and provide a varied and excellent form of Pilates cardio.