Getting in Shape for the New Year

For those who have made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and strengthen their bodies, Rebecca Bell of Mindful Movements Pilates believes she has the right method of exercise.

“Pilates produces long, lean muscles that work more efficiently where as weight lifting builds muscle bulk,” said Bell. “This allows you to burn calories more efficiently. It can improve posture, which makes you appear taller and thinner. Pilates allows you to take the weight off in a way that you can keep it off.”

Pilates is a system of exercises developed by a German physical-culturist Joseph Pilates in 1883. His exercises are based on the relationship between mental and physical health and the use of special exercise equipment.

Still used today, the Pilates reformer is a series of ropes, pulleys, and straps designed to finely tune exercise resistance allowing the exerciser to work on targeted areas while improving strength and flexibility. Breathing techniques are added to the regiment to reduce stress.

“The reformer helps develop the right muscle,” said Bell. “A lot of athletes, Hollywood people, and golfers use it for balance and long lean muscle creation.”

A fitness circle is another exercise device that provides torso stability and helps tone specific muscle. Mat exercises are also part of the Pilates routine.

Bell explained that there is minimal investment in the Pilates exercise routine.

“We work out barefoot. You don’t need $100 shoes or special clothes to do Pilates. It’s great for people who are de-conditioned and want to be stronger. Plus there is the added selling point of the privacy factor. The client and I work together as a team. It’s a learning process. I learn about the client’s body and the client learns how to take care of his or her body.

“Clients can feel more confident — just feel better in their own skin. I focus on functional alignment, emphasizing the muscles you use for running, walking, lifting; it’s designed to improve the day to day way your body functions. I am very concerned about the health of people in our state. I want to create awareness of exercise and health; it’s important.”

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