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Pilates a new fitness trend in HCM City

Pilates have over the past few months emerged as a new fitness trend in HCM City.  The exercise is a form of low-impact work-out that aims to strengthen muscles while improving posture and flexibility. 

District 2 is home to a number of quality Pilates studios. VNS Photos An Phuong

Concentration on movements, use of the abdomen and lower back muscles, precise flowing movement patterns and controlled breathing are all key to the exercise.

Pilates routines can be performed on specially designed apparatus, including a bed-like structure called a reformer, a ladder rung with a barrel surface, a mat or blanket.

Though it has been around for nearly 100 years, Pilates has gained popularity in the country in recent months, especially in HCM City.

“Sales went up 25 per cent compared to before the lockdown. The pandemic has reshaped people’s perception of physical and mental health. Compared to the traditional gym, which requires high-intensity training, Pilates is lighter and more versatile,” instructor Thanh Nguyen told Việt Nam News.

Joy, a Pilates instructor at Carepilates in District 2, is positive about the potential growth of Pilates among HCM City residents in the future.

“We used to have mostly foreigners in our studio but many left for their home country during the pandemic,” she said.  “Locals have become more familiar with Pilates and the studio recorded an increasing number of newbies in November and December last year.” 

Pilates is most popular among people aged 25 to 45. Since the sport requires little to no fitness background and helps tone muscles tremendously, it has attracted the participation of many women, especially those working nine-to-five who have injuries, frequent lower back and body pains.

“Pilates is all about mind and body connection, and can be a great introduction to both physical and mental endurance,” Thanh said.

Pilates has proven effective in improving people’s posture.

Since 100 per cent of machines are imported from overseas, instructors need to be qualified with certificates and students need to receive constant form modifications from instructors; a Pilates class is relatively small in size and high in price. 

“We only accept up to five students per class and each lasts an hour. We encourage newbies to take a private one on one or one on two classes to understand the basic correct forms before moving on to harder exercises,” Thanh said.

Lessons range from VND300,000 to 1,300,000, and students should participate in at least two to three lessons per week to see clear results.

Korean culture has had a huge impact on the growth of Pilates in HCM City. Many young students decided to start Pilates after seeing their favourite K-pop idols doing it.

Pilates work-outs are best alone in private, or with small groups and a professional instructor.

Real results 

Despite the hefty price tag, many locals enjoy Pilates as they see positive results.

“I have tried the traditional gym, boxing, Muay Thai and even pole dancing and found myself most comfortable with Pilates,” said Ngoc Anh, 31, a resident of Binh Thanh District.

“Forty-five minutes to one hour per class, three times a week seems the perfect length for a solid, efficient workout without feeling drained. I usually practise pilates in the morning and have never felt the lack of energy to carry on with the day."

Pilates may look easy but the burn is real. The soreness of Pilates is different from the aches and pains from squats or sit-ups.

“It’s a more subtle soreness and the tone up effect is visible. What I am most happy about is how my lower back pain has been gradually eased,” said Anh Thuong, 32, a Pilates practitioner from HCM City.

Lower back pain is common among office workers, who have to keep a static posture for a long time, adding large amounts of pressure to their back muscles and spinal discs.

Thuong said that Pilates provided her with therapeutic experiences, which helped her release tension and build stronger muscles around her weakest area, the lower back.

Pilates can be done in the comfort of one’s home, but proper equipment and guidance from professionals change the game completely.

It seems that Pilates is not just a fitness trend, but here to stay.

Source: Vietnam News

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