WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- If you want to really tighten and strengthen your entire body, especially your abs, you might want to try Pilates. Instructors suggest you start with the reformer and then move to the mat.
Gentle whispers and long breaths are usually the only sounds you'll hear at Port City Pilates in Wilmington. But, don't mistake the calm for weakness. What the instructors teach is intense and requires strength.
"It's going to be a lot of deep, deep abdominal work," said Emily Hudson, an instructor at Port City Pilates.
That abdominal work is the core of the exercise.
"You read articles all the time online that say build up your core strength to improve posture and to decrease back pain. That's not necessarily a six pack. That's the layer of abdominals that you don't see," Hudson said.
But, Karen Hanson said she sees and feels the results.
"I just can't say enough about it. I love it," Hanson said.
Hanson herniated a disc in her back a long time ago. She said reformer Pilates helped heal it.
"The L45 herniated disc just does not give me trouble anymore," Hanson said.
Hudson said Joseph Pilates developed the contraption to heal himself and then many soldiers during WWI.
"If you really look at it, it is in the shape of a bed," Hudson said.
And, Hudson said doing Pilates on the reformer is easier than on a mat.
"We prefer people to start on the reformer because the reformer is very supportive and really helps put the body in the correct position and builds the strength in the right way so that you can graduate to the mat," Hudson said.
Whether you do Pilates on a mat or reformer, Hudson said it's not just for rehab.
"You name it, from losing weight to improving posture to just wanting to feel better overall," Hudson said.
"It's been a wonderful experience for me and I'm intending to do it until I'm really old," Hanson said.
And, as Hanson ages, thanks to Pilates, she will never be out of shape.