Many people choose to start taking pilates classes because of the numerous benefits associated with this form of strengthening exercise.
While it’s clear that pilates can be highly beneficial both physically and mentally, what is often less clear is how often you should be doing pilates if you want to see results.
If you’re not sure whether you’re doing enough pilates to derive full benefits from your sessions, read on.
We’ll be explaining what kinds of benefits you can expect to see if you do enough pilates, what qualifies as ‘enough’, and whether it’s still worth doing shorter or less frequent pilates sessions.
What Are The Benefits Of Pilates?
There’s a reason pilates is such a popular form of exercise! Studies have shown that pilates has a range of benefits for the average person’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Physical Benefits Of Pilates
First and foremost, pilates is a type of strengthening exercise. Specifically, it focuses on core strength.
This means that doing pilates regularly is likely to improve your physical strength, especially in your core.
As a result of strengthening your muscles, frequent pilates sessions may also make for better posture and reduce muscular pain such as back pain.
You might also be less likely to experience injuries because you will get more flexible and mobile as a result of your pilates training.
In addition to strengthening your muscles, pilates has been proven to enhance bone health, reducing the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis.
Your balance may improve after a certain amount of time practicing pilates because of the increase in bodily awareness that tends to happen as a result.
Mental Benefits Of Pilates
It’s not just your physical body that can benefit from regular pilates. Numerous studies have indicated that pilates is good for your mental health and cognitive function.
The regulation of breath necessary for pilates has been shown to reduce stress and because the exercise releases endorphins, you may notice an improvement in your overall mood.
By increasing blood flow to your brain, pilates might even help to boost your cognitive functioning, including your memory.
How Much Pilates Is Enough To See Benefits?
Now that we have discussed all the benefits of pilates, the question remains: how much pilates is enough to reap those benefits?
Several experts have weighed in to try and answer this question, and each answer is slightly different, but the general consensus is that an effective pilates class should last at least 20 minutes, with 45-minute sessions being optimal for strength conditioning and other benefits.
In terms of how often you should be practicing pilates to see results, that ultimately depends on the length of your sessions.
Assuming you’re sticking to 20-minute sessions, you should try to do pilates 3 or 4 times a week. That adds up to between an hour and an hour and 20 minutes of pilates per week.
With that being said, if you want to see more noticeable benefits within a shorter time frame, it makes sense to up the frequency of shorter pilates sessions if you can.
5 20-minute sessions per week (an hour and 40 minutes every week) will definitely yield results.
On the other hand, if you have the time to fit in longer pilates sessions (45 minutes or so), you won’t need to practice as often to experience the benefits.
Just 2 45-minute sessions per week adds up to an hour and a half of pilates on a weekly basis, and if you fit 3 of these longer sessions into your schedule every week, you’ll be doing over 2 hours of weekly pilates, which is sure to produce results quickly.
Regardless of how long or short your pilates sessions are, make sure you’re allowing yourself at least one rest day each week to give your muscles a rest.
That doesn’t necessarily mean being completely sedentary (a walk or some gentle yoga is still fine) but giving your body a break from exertion once in a while is important.
Are Shorter Pilates Sessions Still Beneficial?
If you read the section above and felt disheartened by the suggestion of 5 weekly pilates sessions or 45-minute classes, don’t worry!
These are just guidelines and estimates at the end of the day, and the fact that these numbers are considered optimal doesn’t mean you can’t still derive benefits from shorter or less frequent pilates sessions.
For example, if you only have time for one 45-minute session per week, you’ll still probably see some improvements compared to when you were doing no pilates at all.
It just may take longer for those benefits to noticeably manifest.
With that being said, if you can fit in some shorter sessions in addition to your longer session over the course of the week, it all adds up and can boost the benefits of your workout.
It’s also important to note that while we have recommended a minimum of 20 minutes as an ideal length for pilates sessions, you shouldn’t let that put you off doing shorter sessions of 10 to 15 minutes if that’s all you have time for.
Even a few 10-minute pilates sessions are likely to make a difference to how your body looks and how you feel.
Something is always better than nothing, and many people are actually more likely to stick to a routine of 10-minute pilates classes a few times a week than they are to continue with 3 45-minute weekly sessions in the long term.
When you think about it this way, doing shorter sessions might actually end up being more beneficial than pressuring yourself to practice longer and more often.
Mental Vs. Physical Benefits
You should also take into consideration which kinds of benefits are most important to you.
As we mentioned earlier, there are essentially 2 kinds of benefits you can derive from pilates: physical and mental.
If feeling better mentally and emotionally is your primary goal when it comes to exercise and the idea of long, frequent sessions makes you feel stressed and overwhelmed, you’ll be more likely to see the benefits you’re looking for if you allow yourself to do short sessions.
On the other hand, if your goal when starting pilates is chiseled abs and toned glutes, you may want to push yourself for those longer or more frequent sessions.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how often you should be doing pilates to achieve the benefits.
While this can be frustrating to hear, the reason behind this is that it ultimately depends on what kinds of benefits you’re looking for, how long you can practice for, and how frequently you can practice.
2 or 3 20-minute sessions of pilates per week will allow you to see results, and the same can be said for just 1 or 2 45-minute sessions.
To see clearer results faster, you could push yourself to 5 20-minute sessions or 3 45-minute sessions.
If all you have time for is a few 10-minute sessions of pilates per week, that’s fine, too!
You should still see benefits from this over time, and the main thing is that you’re moving your body and doing something positive for your health.