What do Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna and many seven-foot-tall professional basketball players have in common? They all do Pilates. If you have no clue what Pilates is, or need a reminder, check out my article "What Is Pilates?"
Although I'm a fan of anything that helps you live an active, healthy lifestyle, there are plenty of myths and misconceptions floating around about Pilates, kind of like with yoga. Here are the five most popular Pilates myths:
Myth 1: Pilates Is a Good Way to Lose Weight
In the article "Does Yoga Burn Calories," you learn about several studies that have shown yoga to be relatively ineffective in directly burning calories or causing significant weight loss. While Pilates has definite benefits, its strongest suit is certainly not weight loss. A 2006 study found that body weight and body fat was not significantly affected in adult females using a regular Pilates routine, and a 2004 study found that Pilates does help improve flexibility, but does not significantly affect body composition, even after six months of training. So when it comes to pure calorie burning and fat loss, running on a treadmill, riding a bike or lifting weights will be more effective than Pilates.
But because Pilates does such a good job strengthening your core, reducing risk of injury and improving your flexibility, it will help keep you from getting sidelined with an injury -- which means you can work out more consistently. You may also be more likely to exercise in other ways, since you often find yourself visiting a gym or a health club to take Pilates class.