Branch Out! 5 Reasons to Try Pilates This Summer

By: StacyAtZeel

machine-flickr-citemachine-flickr-citeNot that we needed another reason to incorporate a new form of exercise into our routines, but if you haven't tested your Pilates skills just yet, says Zeel Expert Halle Clarke, then summer is the perfect time to start!

Need a little gentle encouragement? Check out these five ways in which Halle explains how the practice of Pilates can help make this your best-and fittest!-summer yet

1. Beach body ready. Of course, there's the whole idea that Pilates gives you that highly desirable, long and lean dancer's physique, but that's not all this dynamic practice can do for your summer bod. As Halle puts it, a Pilates practice can be designed to specifically target the core muscles-you know, the ones that get exposed between your bikini top and bottom.

2. Healthy and strong. While Pilates is known for its rehabilitative abilities, this highly beneficial practice also has the capacity to prevent injury in the first place. Keep your body healthy and strong all summer long so you can continue to participate in your favorite warm weather activities, like swimming, hiking and more.

3. Personalized for you. "Private Pilates is adaptable," Halle says, "so you can focus on what you need." Summer runners may want to focus on their upper body strength and arms; if you plan to be on a bike a lot this July, you might be in search of a way to stretch out your leg muscles; and if you're doing lots of yoga, Pilates' core work can complement those muscles that keep you flexible and balanced during each asana.

4. Pilates is everywhere! Heading to the Hamptons? You'll probably be able to find a Pilates studio or personal instructor nearly anywhere you travel this summer. Simply plan ahead; check out local studios, search for nearby experts. Book in advance, and get the benefits of a well-rounded workout wherever your adventures take you.

5. Calm and mindful. From early morning races to late night family barbeques, summer definitely keeps us on our toes all day long. Pilates is the perfect way to offset the summer rush and be mindful, says Halle. She adds, "Practice your concentration and mind-calming skills at the same time as toning your bod!"