Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that consists of flexibility, strength and endurance training with an emphasis placed on abdominal, hip, lower back, and thigh work. A typical pilates mat routine involves 25 to 50 strength-building exercises, and a complete pilates workout is equivalent to a full-on calisthenics routine that includes repetition exercises, such as sit-ups and push-ups, says the Mayo Clinic1. Although pilates exercise is not considered a type of aerobic exercise, you can burn calories during a pilates workout, depending on your workout intensity level. Determine calories burned during pilates mat class for beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercisers.
Pilates is an excellent way to ease into an exercise program, and with the right instruction you can quickly start to see shapely results as your body transforms. Pilates exercise is low-impact and doesn’t push you toward cardio work you’re not ready for. Although, you might want to add aerobic workouts, or even high-intensity pilates workouts to your daily exercise routine later to encourage better cardio health, you can still burn calories while sculpting your body into shape with a pilates mat class as a beginner. Depending on your weight, fitness level, and intensity, you can burn over 80 calories per 15 minutes during pilates mat class. For example, a beginner pilates participant who weighs 160 pounds can burn 71 calories per 15 minutes and up to 300 calories during an hour of pilates, according to Everyday Health’s2 Pilates calorie calculator tool. Beginners can start with 15 to 20 minutes of pilates work and gradually work out for longer periods of time. Those overweight burn slightly more pilates mat class calories.
Intermediate pilates exercisers can burn over 350 calories during an hour of pilates depending on weight and muscle mass. According to a report by the American College of Sports Medicine on research conducted by Michele Olson, Ph.D., a pilates routine performed at an intermediate level for 30 minutes burned 180 calories for an average-sized woman, states the Wellsphere health website3. Additional 15-minute increments added to the routine burned 90 more calories per increment, says Wellsphere. Men involved in the study tended to burn more calories, likely due to larger frames and more muscle mass, adds Wellsphere.
While intermediate pilates classes typically provide a moderate-level intensity workout and burn more calories than a beginner workout session, advanced pilates classes tend to provide much higher intensity workouts, resulting in even more calories burned. Compare an intermediate pilates mat class to speed-walking at a 4 to 4.5 miles per hour pace, and compare an advanced pilates mat class workout lasting one hour to an hour-long step-aerobic class, says Wellsphere. High-intensity aerobic workouts such as step-aerobics can burn over 600 calories an hour for a person weighing 200 pounds and over 500 calories per hour for a person weighing 160 pounds, according to the Mayo Clinic.4 Depending on your weight and workout intensity level, you can lose pilates mat class calories equivalent to calories burned in a high-intensity aerobic dance class.
- Mayo Clinic: Pilates for Beginners –Explore the Core of Pilates
- Everyday Health: Free Pilates Calorie Calculator Tool
- Wellsphere: How Many Calories Do You Burn in Pilates?
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise For Weight Loss – Calories Burned in One Hour