Regularly practising Pilates increases flexibility of the body and helps lengthen muscles, actually giving you a leaner look. This is why Pilates was originally developed as an exercise form to increase muscle strength for strenuous performances. If practised regularly, it shows better results in a shorter time than visiting the gym. Pilates is not a cardiovascular workout and so needs another form of exercise to complement it.
Pilates moves are either strength or suppleness based and sometimes a combination of the two. The routine is like yoga where maintaining balance, doing stretches, and using resistance against your own weight are required. One of the ways Pilates differs from yoga however is in the number of repetitions of each movement, another way is with the use of equipment (eg. balls or bands). When you watch someone doing a Pilates move, it may seem easy, but it actually involves a lot of effort. The effects are subtle but will help you with any other form of exercise that you do.
The greatest advantage of Pilates moves is that their effect is not localized to an area or group of muscles, but the entire body. For instance, unlike as in sit-ups or abdominal crunches, Pilates moves exercise all the muscles of the abdomen. Together with this, they tone and strengthen the lower back and mid section creating a strong centre for the entire body.