Pilates dramatically transforms the way your body looks, feels and performs. It builds strength without excess bulk, creating a more toned body, slender thighs and waist, and a flatter stomach. The focus on proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth flowing movement help create better awareness of your body.

Here you will find 10 hot tips to looking and feeling your personal best through the Pilates method.

1. Maintain Good Posture

Keep your neck long, your shoulders squarely down and back, your waist long, and your buttock muscles engaged. Having good posture throughout the day is important in maintaining your body’s equilibrium. Good posture gives you proper joint and muscle alignment and also improves your mobility and stability. It increases your breathing capacity and your body’s overall balance and symmetry.

2. Exercise

Commit yourself to small amounts of exercise at least thrice a week. Throw in a cardio workout that you consider fun. Turn up the music indoors and dance while doing your chores. Try brisk-walking in your favourite park or swimming a few laps before the mid-afternoon crash. Step up to moving more no matter what your choice.

3. Build up your abdominal muscles

Contract your abdominal muscles, lifting them in and up your spine. This creates a strong foundation built to withstand the weight of your body and the tasks of everyday living.

4. Strengthen your core

This is vital to achieve ideal alignment of your back and spine that results in a stronger, pain-free back, a more perfect posture and a more elongated you. It makes you appear younger, taller and lighter!

5. Do Pilates

Pilates exercises are great for strengthening and tightening your abdominal muscles. After 3 weeks of working on your abs with the following moves (tips 6, 7, 8), you will be pleased to find that your clothes fit you better around the waist, your stomach is more taut, you become more conscious of the way you hold yourself, and you look and feel wonderful.

6. The Hundred

Lie back with arms by your sides, legs extended in a table-top position. Pull belly button in toward the spine as you lift your shoulder blades off the mat bringing your chin to chest. While in this position, pulse your arms up and down for 100 counts (inhaling for 5 counts, exhaling for 5 counts).

7. Criss Cross

Lie back with your knees bent, fingers laced behind your head. Lift your shoulder blades off the mat and exhale to twist your right shoulder toward your left knee as you extend right leg out. Pause at the inhale and then exhale to twist to the other side. Work up to 15 reps on each side.

8. Plank

Lie face down with your legs extended, forearms resting on the mat shoulder-width apart, hands in fists. Tighten your abs, tuck toes under and lift your hips off the mat so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold for 30 seconds while breathing normally and then lower to start. Rest before repeating 3 more times.

9. Maintain proper form

When doing your Pilates exercises, focus on doing the moves slowly and with a lot of control. Keep your shoulders away from your ears, your neck and chest relaxed. It is always more effective to do a few good moves than many haphazard ones.

10. You Are What You Eat

You are what you eat - cut back on sweets, fast food and anything deep-fried! Splurge on vegetables and fruits instead. Whole grains and lean protein are great too. Remember that proportion is key; take everything in moderation.

Hollywood celebrities have discovered the amazing benefits of Pilates -- with a strong following from the likes of Madonna, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Sandra Bullock, Gwenyth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Uma Thurman, Kate Hudson, Joan Collins, Jamie Lee Curtis, Elizabeth Hurley, Hugh Grant, Reese Witherspoon, Pippa Middleton -- because Pilates works and Pilates is the only anti-ageing exercise form today.

Author's Bio: 

Mrs Claudel Kuek, Pilates Director of PowerMoves Pilates in the Park.
PowerMoves Pilates in the Park, award-winning Pilates studios located at Bishan Park, Dempsey Hill and Rochester Park; with Pilates Mat and Pilates Reformer classes for men and women who want a streamlined, lithe and youthful body with the bonus of a healthy heart and a recharged mind. Click here to find out more about the anti-ageing effects of Pilates.