The Pilates method is inspired by calisthenics, yoga and ballet. Pilates exercises increase flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness. When practising Pilates all major muscle groups are stretched. Improvement in posture and muscle strength is another benefit. Pilates brings the mind and body together through exercise and breathing.
Originally Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates, a physical trainer who practised these exercises in the 1920s on injured athletes and dancers. Pilates being used to help physical rehabilitation enabled the athletes to return to exercise safety and maintain their fitness.
Pilates is now used in general communities to maintain and improve fitness. Moving your body in precise motions entails finding a center point to control body movement. Focus and concentration is necessary no matter if the exercises are aerobic or non-aerobic. Each motion contains prescribed placement of rhythm and breathing patterns.
Typically a Pilates routine sequence will include low repetition (5-10 mins), abdominal muscle control, minimal exhaustion, and concentration performed over a session of 45-90 minutes. Mat work and specialised equipment are used. Maximum benefits would be contributed by doing at least 2-3 classes per week.
Pilates is diverse due to exercises being regularly re-evaluated to ensure they are appropriate for specific clients. Clients vary from elite athletes to people with limited mobility, low fitness or perhaps Pre/Post natal pilates. Pilates is for beginners and advanced, you can perform using your own body weight or add resistances with specified equipment.
Health benefits of Pilates
The health benefits of Pilates include:
- improved flexibility
- increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body)
- balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body
- enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs
- improved stabilisation of your spine
- improved posture
- rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances
- improved physical coordination and balance
- relaxation of your shoulders, neck and upper back
- safe rehabilitation of joint and spinal injuries
- prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
- increased lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing
- improved concentration
- increased body awareness
- stress management and relaxation.
Always consult your doctor before trying a new fitness program, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.