While I was doing bicep curls at the gym yesterday, I was reminded of how great Pilates is. Why, you may ask? Because so many Pilates fundamentals extend to other activities, so you can exercise better no matter what you're doing.
If you've never taken a Pilates class, I urge you to try it at least once so that you can apply the lessons to the rest of your fitness routine. For instance, Pilates focuses a great deal on breathing and control, both of which come in handy when strength training. The more you control your movements, the less prone you are to injury.
Even more useful is learning to suck in your abs (engage your deep abs), concentate on your core, and keep your spine neutral. This not only protects your back and improves posture but also helps build your ab muscles. After dabbling in Pilates, you'll learn that sucking in your abs during just about any activity — from weightlifting to canoing — can help you tighten your tummy and protect your back.
So give it a shot and see what you learn. Who knows? You may even find a new workout you love. Are you a Pilates fan? If so, tell me what it's taught you.