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Can You Lose Weight Doing Pilates?

author image Kathryn Vera
Kathryn Vera holds a master's degree in exercise physiology, as well as licensure as a Registered Dietitian. Currently, she works as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac Rehabilitation, where she provides care to patients living with chronic heart disease.
Can You Lose Weight Doing Pilates?
Though Pilates may increase flexibility, it is unlikely to promote lasting weight loss. Photo Credit: petrograd99/iStock/Getty Images

Pilates has its advantages when it comes to enhancing flexibility, strength, endurance and coordination. Unfortunately, exercisers who turn to Pilates to lose weight are unlikely to reach their goals. Supplementing Pilates workouts with aerobic exercise, like hiking, dancing, roller-blading, or cross-country skiing, will make significant weight loss more of a reality.

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More for the Mind

According to Teens Health, Pilates is a "mind-body" conditioning routine that relies on controlled movements to strengthen and tone the body. Some Pilates movements use resistance machines, while others encourage specific breathing techniques. As with other forms of "mind-body" exercise -- such as yoga or tai-chi -- this burns limited amounts of calories. This low calorie expenditure means that even consistent Pilates workouts are unlikely to produce significant weight loss.

Not So Heavy Facts

A study by Sekendiz et al. in 2006 found that sedentary adult females who participated in Pilates did not achieve significant decreases in either their body weight or fat percentage. Similar research by Segal et al. in 2004 showed no significant changes in body mass or fat percentage after two, four, or six months of Pilates.

It's a Stretch

While weight loss isn't likely, other important benefits are possible from Pilates. In fact, the Segal et al. report showed a significant increase in flexibility by more than 4 cm after six months of steady Pilates. In addition, Pilates can be beneficial for those who want to increase muscle strength and endurance in the core muscles -- such as the abdominals and those of the lower back. People who regularly perform it may also notice improvements in their posture and their overall health according to Teens Health.

Accenuate with Aerobics

It could be possible to lose weight while participating in Pilates if you pair it some other exercise. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, aerobic exercise -- like walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling -- burns calories. Aim for a total of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Breaking the time up into 30-minute "chunks" may make it less intimidating and easier to fit around a Pilates schedule.

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