What is Pilates?
Pilates is a safe and effective, low-impact exercise system designed to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility.
It was created in the 1920s by German-born Joseph Pilates (1883-1967) for the purpose of rehabilitation.
Core strength is the foundation of the practice. As you develop your core strength you enhance stability throughout your entire torso. This is one way Pilates helps overcome back pain.
The Pilates repertoire enhances overall flexibility, strength and fitness whilst improving coordination and balance. It's considered a Mind-Body training regime and is suitable for all fitness levels.
Benefits of Pilates
It's "feel good fitness" that you'll enjoy! Positive changes are seen and felt very quickly.
Your body becomes firmer and sleeker, with flatter abdominals and a longer, leaner look.
As your posture improves, you will feel and look taller, as your spine is encouraged to lengthen.
You can move more easily by increasing range of motion at your joints and overall flexibility.
Physical and mental strength and endurance will increase, making it ideal for people under stress or recovering from injuries. As relaxation is promoted, participants enjoy a sense of calm after a session.
The mind becomes the master of the body, increasing self-esteem and coordination.
Back pain and weakness are reduced as you strengthen the core muscles and stretch shortened muscles. This results in a re-balancing and re-aligning of the body, both improving posture and reducing the risk of injuries.
Muscle flexibility, joint mobility, coordination and balance all improve steadily. Stronger, longer muscles are developed as opposed to bulk.
Suitable for Beginners
Principles of Pilates
Concentration – Stay focused and move mindfully. Visualize your next step, as this will help your nervous system choose the best combination of muscles to perform the movement. When your mind and body operate as a team, you'll have a much more productive and rewarding exercise session.
Control – All movements must be performed with control, originating from the mind. Motion and activity without control leads to haphazard and counter-productive exercises with a heightened risk of injury.
Centering – The human body has a physical center from which all motion proceeds, which Joseph Pilates termed the “Powerhouse”.
The muscles involved are the abdominals, lower back, and buttocks, which support the spine, protect the internal organs and maintain sound posture. Centering, and the correct use of core muscles, promotes a trimmer waist, flatter stomach and improved posture.
Flowing Movement – The exercises take you through a wide range of motion in a controlled and flowing manner. Concentrate on moving smoothly and avoid stiff or jerky movements.
Precision – It's important that all the movements are coordinated and performed with precision.
It takes time and patience to learn the steps to each exercise, but, as you do, you'll be able to command control of your body and improve coordination.
Breathing – Most of us do not breathe properly and use only a fraction of our lung capacity. Breathing fully will improve circulation, causing the cells of your body to be stimulated and carry away the waste products that are related to fatigue and muscle soreness. Proper breathing can relax the body and mind and also greatly assists in flexion and extension of the spine. Incorrect breathing can interfere with effective abdominal muscle contractions and even create a potbelly!
Your overall health relies on the efficiency of your breathing.