Pilates is a form of exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920's, which emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility, and awareness in order to support efficient, graceful movement.
Pilates is one of the most popular exercise systems in the country because it works so well for a wide range of people. No matter if you are a seasoned athlete, dancer, senior, men or women post pregnancy, people who are at various stages of physical excellence turn to Pilates for many reasons.
Modification is the key to Pilates exercise success with a variety of populations. All exercises are developed with modifications that can make a workout safe and challenging for a person at any level.
Pilates can really make a difference in your health without taking a toll on the body.
By emphasizing proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth, flowing movement, you become acutely in tune with your body. You actually learn how to control its movement.
In Pilates, the quality of movement is valued over quantity of repetitions. Proper breathing is essential and helps you execute movements with maximum power and efficiency. Last but not least, learning to breathe properly can reduce stress.
These six Pilates principles are essential ingredients in a high-quality Pilates workout. The Pilates method has always emphasized quality over quantity, and you will find that, unlike many systems of exercise, Pilates exercises do not include a lot of repetitions for each move. Instead, doing each exercise fully, with precision, yields significant results in a shorter time than one would ever imagine.
Pilates exercises develop a strong "core," or center of the body. The core consists of the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. Control of the core is achieved by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle.
Along with a strong core and flat abs, Pilates helps you to create a more supported spine by creating space between each vertebra. That extra space not only makes you appear taller, it also creates more mobility, transforming your spine from a stiff rod into a supple string of pearls. This new suppleness prevents degenerative spinal problems, such as slipped disks. It also helps you move with more grace and ease.
More conventional or traditional workouts are weight bearing and tend to build short, bulky muscles - the type most prone to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.
Most people have the same workout and never vary their gym routine enough to work different muscles of the body. Pilates does a great job with muscular balance, which prevents strong muscles to compensate for weaker ones, which is a primary cause of injury and chronic back pain.
Pilates conditions the whole body, even the ankles, and feet. No muscle group is over trained or under trained. Your entire musculature is evenly balanced and conditioned, helping you enjoy daily activities and sports with greater ease, better performance and less chance of injury. That’s why so many professional sports teams and elite athletes now use Pilates as a critical part of their training regimen.
Pilates exercises train several muscle groups at once in smooth, continuous movements. By developing proper technique, you can actually re-train your body to move in safer, more efficient patterns of motion - invaluable for injury recovery, sports performance, good posture, and optimal health.
Many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight bearing. Pilates is so safe, it is used in physical therapy facilities to rehabilitate injuries.
Pilates is also an extremely flexible exercise system. Modifications to the exercises allow for a range of difficulty ranging from beginning to advanced. Get the workout that best suits you now, and increases the intensity as your body conditioning improves.
Pilates benefits your emotional health. The smooth, steady movements quiet your mind and soothe your nervous system. As you lengthen and strengthen your muscles, you'll improve your circulation and whisk tension away. Each workout will leave you feeling calm, balanced, and rejuvenated. Focus on letting the tension go, and you'll be on the path to a healthier body inside and out.
After the late 30’s, balance begins to deteriorate as muscles weaken and the nerve receptors lose sensitivity. Pilates reverses this aging process by stabilizing your core. Pilates works the small, deep muscles needed to keep your body steady when walking and your spine both supple and strong.