How often should I practice pilates? It is the question I am often asked especially by the new clients. Well, there is no One answer. It all depends on what results you are expecting to achieve.
According to the father of the method, Joseph Pilates, “If you will faithfully perform your contrology (original name of the method) exercises regularly only four times a week for just three months, you will find your body development approaching the ideal, accompanied by renewed mental vigour and spiritual enhancement.”
Who would say “no” to mental vigour and spiritual enhancement! However, not all of us have the luxury of time and the budget to commit to four sessions a week. So where is the compromise?
If you want to get real results, say, release neck and shoulder tension and get fitter, or run a marathon without injury, or enhance your athletic performance, or get back into pre-pregnancy shape, commit to Pilates practice at least 2 times a week. And that should be an addition to your existing exercise regime.
Even a simplest Pilates exercise focuses on multiple things – breathing, coordinated muscle contraction, balance, control. As a beginner you are often overwhelmed by having to do so many things at the same time while performing a movement, but as you progress you get better until you get into the flow. That is when your Pilates practice becomes meditation in movement.
Ideally, Pilates is something you do 24/7. Integrating Pilates concepts into your everyday life can help correct bad postural habits. Feel the shoulders creeping up and the neck getting stiffer? Get away from your computer and do a roll down to release the spine; feel the energy dip? do a standing 100 as a “little pick me up”.
So my response to the question “How often should I practice Pilates?” is this: Once a week is great, 2 times a week is better, and 3 times a week is amazing!
Most important, remember: Pilates should not be your only exercise. Commit to movement everyday.