If you're hoping to improve your health, strengthen your muscles and lose weight, you might want to jump on the Pilates bandwagon. Like yoga, Pilates emphasizes flexibility and breathing, but Pilates focuses much more on muscle strengthening and generally offers a more intense workout. The AeroPilates machine is a Pilates tool that pumps up your cardio routine.
Several versions of the AeroPilates machine exist, but all operate according to the same principle. AeroPilates uses basic Pilates movements in addition to moving back and forth on a rebounding machine. This elevates your heart rate and adds a cardiovascular workout to your usual Pilates strength training. The manufacturers of AeroPilates emphasize that the machine offers similar benefits to jumping on a trampoline but poses no safety risks.
Cardiovascular Workout Benefits
In the never-ending journey toward the perfect body, it's easy to get caught up in targeting problem areas or only doing muscle-strengthening activities. But cardio is an important part of any workout. It burns more calories than strength training and strengthens your heart. This can lower your blood pressure, pulse and risk of cardiovascular problems over time. Cardio can also elevate your mood, prolong your life, strengthen your immunity and reduce your risk of cognitive problems as you age.
In addition to its heart-strengthening and muscle-building benefits, AeroPilates helps you avoid some of the pitfalls of more traditional cardiovascular exercise. Running, jumping and even walking on a hard surface can be rough on your joints, but AeroPilates is a low-impact workout that won't put unnecessary pressure on tender joints. The AeroPilates machine also comes with its own exercise program, which means you don't have to haul yourself to the gym or hire a personal trainer to get workout recommendations. The machine allows you to adjust intensity as you build strength, and its padded seat can reduce discomfort. All forms of Pilates -- not just AeroPilates -- can improve range of motion, and a 2007 study published in the "Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association" found a modest increase in shoulder mobility in participants who used Pilates to target their shoulders.
Like any workout machine, AeroPilates poses some risks. If you have a history of heart or lung problems, talk to your doctor before beginning a new cardio routine. If you have trouble breathing, experience pain or dizziness while exercising, stop and call your doctor. Proper hydration is also key for maximizing the benefits of cardio. Because the AeroPilates machine is relatively new, few studies on its effectiveness and safety exist, but a 2010 study did find that it burned more calories than cardio or strength training alone, and that participants' core strength improved quickly. Participants also experienced no unhealthy side effects.
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