Starting a Pilates exercise program is a great step in the right direction when you want to achieve a toned, balanced body. You will discover that this exercise discipline involves a number of pieces of equipment and accessories to help you achieve your goal. There is special clothing for Pilates (although it is not necessary), a variety of books and DVDs, and of course, the exercise machines and accessories that help you perform the moves. A number of choices exist when you want to fill out your own personal Pilates gear.
If you plan to perform Pilates at home in between classes in a studio or gym, you should really invest in an exercise mat. This Pilates mat should be at least half an inch in thickness to provide some padding. The mat should be solid, not too pliable, as you want it to support your body alignment and balance properly. The Pilates mat should also be wide and long enough to support your activities. Most mats roll up for easy portability unless you plan to keep it at home, then you could invest in a much larger one.
You probably do not need to spend more than $50 or so for your first Pilates mat. This should purchase you a rollable mat with closed cell foam which provides a sturdier surface. As you become more firmly entrenched in Pilates, you can then upgrade to something of higher quality such as those you might see in a Pilates studio.
Balls and Bands
The original Pilates discipline does not include exercise balls or exercise bands although they are typical tools used today, particularly in home Pilates studios. Because Pilates is about resistance training, these tools are great to have and you can easily modify exercises you could only do in a studio on larger equipment to the ball or band. And with the exercise band, it is easily portable so you could even travel with them in case you do not want to miss any Pilates while on the road.
The magic circle, sometimes known as an exercise ring or fitness circle is quite adaptable to a number of Pilates exercises. Best of all, it is easily portable to take with you traveling or even to and from the Pilates studio. This flexible ring is about 12-14 inches in diameter and provides varying levels of resistance, depending on your efforts.
Clothes, DVDs and Books
Pilates requires form fitting clothing that not only allows your body to breathe but also allows you to move without any hindrances. You simply cannot perform Pilates in baggy clothing as it could become bunched up in unsightly areas or become caught in the Pilates equipment. There are clothing lines that cater to the Pilates crowd but you do not necessarily have to purchase Pilates pants or shirts as long as you choose regular workout clothes wisely.
DVDs and books can really supplement your Pilates workout experience you receive in the studio or gym. As it is likely too cost prohibitive to attend classes every day of the week and your schedule may not allow for it, being able to practice at home as its advantages. Investing in a few DVDs and even instruction books can help you round out your home Pilates routines.