Huong, a business owner, felt like the gym was too much for her body after a year of training, with common complaints such as pain in her knees and back.
When she switched to yoga, she felt frustrated, as most of the moves required a level of flexibility that someone her age often no longer has. Things changed when she took up pilates three years ago.
Le Huong has improved the shape of her body after three years of doing pilates. Photo courtesy of Huong
At first, Huong only did four sessions a week, and each lasted for an hour. Her class had a single trainer and four students. She used specialized tools, with a set of movements that are closely moderated to improve her muscle strength and health.
For the first few sessions, Huong mainly trains with a Wunda chair– a low chair with cushions and springs. Once she had gotten used to it, she switched to advanced moves with a Cadillac – a bed-shaped device with a surrounding frame and pulling ropes for different movements.
According to Huong’s trainer, Nguyen Thi Ha from MBS Pilates Center, pilates is an exercise with a certain ease of training, unlike typical gym training or yoga, which require a lot of strength and flexibility.
When you have the support of tools and machinery, your body automatically adapts to the movements without feeling any pressure.
After just 3 months, Huong felt that her breathing and overall health had improved. Before that, she was often out of breath when speaking a lot.
The synergy between breath and body during her training sessions was almost like a form of meditation, helping her gain better control over any stress. She now sleeps better and feels more relaxed and happy.
Besides benefits to her overall health, Huong’s body looks better than ever before, with a smaller waist, and bigger chest and butt. Because her core has become stronger, Huong can now better control her abdominal muscles, something she struggled with before.
One thing that pilates does better is having exercises that support the development of muscle groups that other training methods may ignore, such as the hip joint, and inner and outer thigh muscles, which is ideal for office workers who sit a lot. After her training, Huong’s hip measurement increased from 86 to 92 cm.
For a year now, Huong had consistently done two sessions a week, coupled with walking exercises. The pilates course has greatly strengthened her muscle, which helped her in losing weight. Huong also went on a healthy diet, supplementing her body with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and she only eats until she’s 80% full.
According to trainer Ha, pilates is separated into difficulty levels. Newbies should start with basic courses, and then move to advanced classes according to their stamina and level of control over their bodies, as judged by the trainers.
Proper pilates means breathing in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth, providing your brain with enough oxygen and creating a deep effect on the muscles near the spine.
The pilates course has greatly strengthened Huong’s muscle, which helped her in losing weight. Photo courtesy of Huong
Pilates is for everyone, men and women included. This sport is favored by celebrities because of its long-term benefits and diversity of over 600 different exercises.
A few benefits from pilates are a stronger core, reduced back pain, improved body shape, better breathing, and a boosted immune system, which helps you sleep better. Many studies also suggest that pilates helps make your pelvis more flexible – improving your sex life. Pilates can also be beneficial in work.
According to Ha, women shouldn’t do pilates when hungry, because it can make them tired, dizzy, vomit, and lower their blood sugar levels. You should eat dried food an hour before training so your stomach can digest it in time. For food with liquids such as noodles and phoyou will need up to two hours to digest.