Is Outdoors Pilates A Thing?
Summer’s coming and we all want to be outside, right?
As exciting as that is, you may be feeling torn about heading inside to the reformer or other Pilates equipment that you so enjoy. After all, you love your Pilates class and can’t imagine skipping it.
This may leave you wondering if outdoors Pilates is an option. The good news is, it is! While it won’t look exactly like what you may be used to doing in the studio, there are plenty of mat Pilates movements that can be easily moved outside.
Benefits of Practicing Pilates Outdoors
Any sort of physical activity you do, whether inside or outside, will boost your energy levels, improve blood pressure and heart rate, lift your mood with endorphins, and strengthen your immune system.
But practicing Pilates specifically outside offers additional benefits you may not have considered. Outdoor Pilates will do the following:
1. Push Your Boundaries
It’s all too easy to go into auto-pilot with your Pilates routine. And soon enough, you’re in a rut. Shifting to an outdoor setting will get you out of that rut and even give you additional challenges.
For instance, it takes some creativity to practice crunches or planks on ground that’s not exactly even. Furthermore, those uneven surfaces give your ankle and knee joints more action to keep them flexible and strong.
2. Increase Work on Focus
Aaaaahhh, it’s so nice to step into your Pilates practice space and feel completely at ease with how familiar it is.
But what about shaking things up a little bit? When nature delivers some strong breezes, a buzzing fly, or even a few raindrops, you need to control how you react to those situations and focus on your breathing. This, in turn, will deepen your practice.
3. Give You Plenty of Space
If you practice in a studio where there often doesn’t seem to be enough space for all of the practitioners, you’ll be pleased with how expansive and open your practice is when outside.
Plus, the sound of the birds and leaves rustling in the trees provides an extra layer of feeling really connected with the environment around you.
4. Deliver Some Vitamin D
Coming out of winter, you’re probably eager to soak up some sun. Our bodies seem to implicitly understand the need for vitamin D to ward off depression. And sunlight is the best source.
When you exercise outdoors, you’ll get that burst of vitamin D. And you don’t even need to be in direct sunlight. If you do choose to be right in the sun though, play it safe. Always wear the appropriate SPF sunscreen to protect your skin.
There’s no rigid rulebook on how to practice outdoor Pilates. It’s pretty simple really. It’s merely mat Pilates but done outside.
First you need to find a quiet spot that’s relatively flat with the right amount of sun/shade. This could be in your backyard or the middle of a city park; or perhaps you want to strap your mat on your back and set out on a hike to an open field in the middle of the woods. It’s up to you.
Keep in mind that wherever you settle, you will want a water bottle and you may want props. These could include toning rings, elastic bands, mini-balls, or even light weights.
Be At One With Nature
According to research, the brain functions better after spending time outdoors. You know this if you’ve ever taken a break from a stressful situation to get some fresh air. Flooding the brain with more oxygen increases energy and concentration.
What’s more, doing Pilates outside is inspirational. Nature is inherently beautiful and being in a natural setting will help you build a sense of appreciation for the air you’re breathing and simply taking in the moment.
Joseph Pilates himself was a huge advocate of outdoor fitness. In fact, his first iterations of the practice were developed when Pilates was interned in an enemy war camp during WWI. Imagine that!
So if he could stretch, center, strengthen, and tone in the middle of a stressful war camp, you’re sure to find outdoor Pilates on a nice patch of grass under a sunny blue sky to be pretty darn pleasant!
Curious About How Pilates Can Benefit You?
If you’re already a Pilates aficionado, consider trying outdoor Pilates this summer to bring a new dimension to your practice.
And if you haven’t yet given this dynamic practice a try, then contact us today. Our highly trained instructors will work with you to ease you into the method.
Then once you become a seasoned Pilates dynamo, you’ll be ready to take it outside!