It can be a bit intimidating to try out a new class, especially one that you’re not even sure how to pronounce. Pilates (pronounced puh-la-teez) is a low-impact form of exercise that will work your entire body, efficiently and effectively.

Before you begin pilates, here are 5 things you should know.

#1. It will greatly improve your overall health.

Not only will you enjoy the visual benefits of a flatter stomach and tighter muscles, but you will also be rewarded with increased flexibility, joint mobility and a stronger core. Pilates improves your posture and your bones density. It also a fantastic stress reliever and helps build great mind-body awareness. My clients often refer to Pilates as the Fountain of Youth. 

#2. No shoes required.

Pilates does not need any fancy shoes or exercise gear. Most exercises are done seated or lying down so all you need is a mat, comfortable workout gear and socks to keep your feet warm.

#3. You will leave feeling taller.

Pilates greatly improves your posture. Pilates teaches proper spinal alignment which is imperative for overall health. This is done by strengthening your back and abdominal muscles through specific mobility exercises. Many people leave mat class feeling taller.

#4. Your muscles will shake.

Pilates doesn’t focus on just one muscle group. Not only will you be working your core, but you will be working your hips, legs, shoulders and back as well. Thats another fantastic thing about pilates….it’s an overall workout.

#5. Pilates works every single muscle group.

A pilates mat class is very different than high intensity fitness classes but that doesn’t mean you won’t ‘feel’ it. Pilates exercises use bodyweight as the main piece of resistance which can be intense. A good instructor will show you modifications for each exercise so you can work at your level. But don’t be surprised to feel your muscles shaking during one of the exercises.

Pilates should be a part of your overall workout routine. Start by adding in 1 class a week in addition to your other workouts. It won’t be long before you begin to feel and see the results.