Does Pilates help with weight loss?

The answer is no.  It is not an effective form of exercise for weight loss.  Pilates exercise is best alternated with a form of cardiovascular exercise such as cycling, walking, swimming, running or aerobics.  Some “Pilates” Classes have been developed to include some aerobic activity, and whilst these classes may not be truly Pilates in the classic sense they can provide a combination of Pilates exercise and cardiovascular exercise. Some of these combined Pilates and Aerobics use a jumpboard on the Pilates Reformer.   These type of classes may not be suited to clients or patients recovering from injury, or surgery.  Most combined classes are normally aiming for overall fitness and not specific rehabilitation or optimal performance training.  The combined classes can also be fun and motivating.

So why do Pilates?

Pilates exercises whether those based on a mat, or those using the Pilates studio equipment are identified with increasing muscular strength, muscular flexibility and improved postural awareness.  Many advocates of Pilates exercise highlight that regular practice leads to developing lean, elongated, flexible and strong muscles, and many often report they more quickly achieve a “flat stomach” and gain core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.

There are several other benefits of regular practice of Pilates exercises either at home or in the Pilates studios.

Stronger muscles and increased flexibility leads to less injuries, and that will keep you more active and performing exercise consistently and regularly.

Improved posture and body awareness leads to more efficient movement so over time you can increase the number of exercises within a session and the frequency of taking part in exercise sessions without risk of damage or physical exhaustion.

The use of rhythmical breathing whilst performing Pilates exercises has been known to help reduce stress, and some people report both concentration and learning improve.

Pilates exercise can also be beneficial during pregnancy and the post natal period, see our guide to exercise in pregnancy.


How do I get a great looking body?

Whilst many famous people including Madonna, John Cleese, Andy Murry and Kate Middleton are known to practice Pilates, they are unlikely to be relying just on Pilates to meet the demands of their demanding careers and high profile.   Regular practice of Pilates either at home or at a Pilates studio with a Pilates instructor will get best results when combined with cardiovascular exercise, good nutrition and healthy rest.


Blog article by Celia Carron.  Celia is a Pilates instructor living and working in Basel, Switzerland and previously director of Little Venice Pilates, London.


Betül Sekendiz, Özkan Altun, Feza Korkusuz, Sabire Akin 2006.  Effects of Pilates Exercise on trunk strength, endurance and flexibility in sedentary adult females.  Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.