Pilates (cont.)

Will Pilates help with weight loss?

There are no studies to prove that Pilates contributes to weight loss. The bottom line to weight loss is that you must consume fewer calories than you burn no matter how much exercise you do. Even if you run a marathon every day you, will not lose weight if you consume more calories than you burn. Now, if you practice Pilates, or any other exercise for that matter, then you do burn calories, and that helps. There is also the potential for a positive interaction between exercise and your calorie intake where you ask yourself, Why eat more if I'm doing all this exercise and I want to lose weight? You might lose weight if you start thinking like that. Interestingly, calorie expenditure during six different Pilates mat exercises has been carefully studied. The researchers found that on average, a 165-pound person burned 480 calories per hour during an advanced Pilates workout (comparable to walking 4.5 miles per hour), 390 calories per hour during an intermediate workout (comparable to basic stepping), and 276 calories per hour during a basic workout (comparable to moderate stretching). But the calories burned varied for each individual, leading the investigators to conclude that "Pilates mat workouts vary widely in energy cost depending on both the skill level/intensity of the workout and the particular exercise movement being performed. The advanced and intermediate workouts tested in this study appear to be of sufficient intensity to provide apparently healthy adult participants with health-fitness benefits."

Can I do Pilates if I'm pregnant?

You should check with your doctor if you are pregnant and want to try Pilates. There are currently no studies to prove the safety or efficacy of Pilates during pregnancy. This is not to say that it is unsafe, but you should check with your doctor first. There is evidence that aerobic exercise during pregnancy at a level great enough to produce a training effect does not adversely affect birth weight or other maternal and infant outcomes, and that it may be associated with fewer pregnancy-associated discomforts, but there is limited research on weight lifting and pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in their position statement on pregnancy and exercise, recommend limiting repetitive isometric or heavy resistance weight lifting and any exercises that result in a large rise in blood pressure. Pilates can be both isometric and high intensity, and so the instructor should account for that if teaching you Pilates and you are pregnant. Again, check with your doctor if you are pregnant and want to try Pilates.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/17/2014