Fitness, Fitness, Lifestyle

Pilates vs Yoga

“A lot of people who only do strength training or cardio become really tight in their muscles and are putting a lot of pressure on their joints, so with both Pilates and yoga, which are both mindful programs, they’re getting that flexibility and mobility,

Pilates and yoga: same thing but different name, right? Actually, despite some crossovers and similarities, there are actually a few key differences that can help you achieve a variety of goals.

We chat to a couple of your fav’ Aquanation group fitness instructors, Yoga instructor Ella Forbes and Pilates and BODYBALANCE Mandy Metcalf, to get the lowdown.

Strengthening and lengthening

Keen to improve your core, strengthen your muscles and tone up? Pilates is your pal. “Pilates is very core focused, during Pilates movements you’re strengthening and lengthening the muscles at the same time as toning your overall muscles without bulking up,” says Metcalf.

The Pilates instructor explains further that classes involve repetitive movements where you’ll “improve on your flexibility of broader muscle groups which is proven to be extremely relaxing through mindfulness.”

Flexibility and mobility

Although yoga involves elements of strengthening and lengthening, Forbes advises that if you’re wanting to improve your “mobility, balance and flexibility” yoga is perfect for you. And the benefits don’t stop there. Yoga is all about training your body and mind. “It’s all about deepening your awareness and more of an appreciation and acceptance of your body and how it is,” says Forbes.

Core cruncher

Okay, not entirely a core cruncher but Pilates will definitely work your core and build your strength in that area. And remember, your core ain’t just washboard abs. Improving core strength will benefit you in so many ways and considering adulting is basically just complaining about having a sore back and not being as flexible - Metcalf highly recommends Pilates.

“If you have issues with your lower back, shoulders and glutes, practicing Pilates will strengthen your core and improve your mobility,” the Pilates instructor explains.

Flexing up

Hands up if you feel tight after your gym sessions? Yep our hands are raised too. To combat this, incorporating both yoga and Pilates is going to do wonders for your flexibility.

 “A lot of people who only do strength training or cardio become really tight in their muscles and are putting a lot of pressure on their joints, so with both Pilates and yoga, which are both mindful programs, they’re getting that flexibility and mobility,” says Metcalf.

Injury prevention

Both Metcalf and Forbes say both disciplines can help you tune into your body and prevent injuries. “You can become aware of how far you can push yourself and by strengthening your muscles through yoga and Pilates help prevent injuries, so you’re not recovering for three weeks and hampering your progress,” Forbes says.

Metcalf agrees. “I believe these programs will help calm you and help you gain an appreciation of your body. This will help you become more mindful of your body and this transfers to your gym workouts because you become more aware of the damage you could be doing.”

If you’ve got a bun in the oven

For those wanting to stay active when they’re pregnant both mind body variations are perfect for you.

“Both Pilates and yoga are safe for pregnant women because not only are theylow impact, but we always add an alternative exercise for pregnant women or people who are injured with every move,” says Metcalf. She adds that instructors can even alternate moves according to what trimester you’re in.

One of Forbes’ top tips is not to be a nervous nelly and mention to the instructor you’re pregnant prior to the start of class. “Please don’t be afraid to tell us before the class privately, that way we can ensure we provide options specifically for you and that way you can still keep achieving your goals.”

And don’t worry, Forbes is very reassuring that you’ll still get just as good a workout (if not better)