Pilates is a system of exercise designed to develop core strength and flexibility, and to promote total body balance. Pilates is versatile enough that both seasoned athletes and senior citizens can participate in it and reap its rewards. Though designed for overall wellness, many people use Pilates to lose weight. So just how effective is Pilates as a weight loss tool?
Average Calories Burned
Although there are a number of variables involved in determining how many calories are burned during an hour of Pilates, an average-sized woman–162.9 pounds as defined by the National Center for Health Statistics–doing an hour of intermediate level Pilates will burn about 380 calories. There are several factors involved that can alter this number, as outlined below.
It makes sense that the harder you work out, the more calories you will burn. A Pilates beginner will have a substantially less intense workout than a Pilates intermediate, as she has little experience and usually starts out slowly with ample downtime between exercises. Pilates practitioners on an intermediate level will exert more effort with less downtime, but will still experience a less intense workout than someone who is advanced in Pilates. For that reason, the beginner will burn the fewest number of calories, while the advanced practitioner will burn the most.
The more weight you carry on your body, the harder your muscles and heart will have to work when you exercise. For that reason, an overweight woman will actually burn more calories in a workout than a woman of average weight. As an example, a 200-pound woman doing one hour of Pilates on a beginner level will burn about 333 calories. A 100-pound woman doing the same workout will burn about 167.
The longer you work out, the more calories you will burn in a given interval. So you are actually burning more calories in the second half hour of your Pilates workout than you are in your first. If an hour of Pilates burns 200 calories, it is not accurate to estimate that 30 minutes burns 100. Similarly, an hour and a half of Pilates would likely burn more than 250 calories because the end of the workout is more efficient than the beginning.
While Pilates may not burn as many calories as some activities, it is undisputedly good for your overall health. The exercises can improve posture, build core strength, increase flexibility, improve range of motion, and strengthen muscles. Strengthening your muscles will, in turn, help you to burn more calories.