Pilates is an innovative and safe system of mind-body exercise using a floor mat or a variety of equipment, such as the Reformer. It evolved from the principles of Joseph Pilates and can dramatically transform the way your body looks, feels and performs. Pilates teaches body awareness, good posture, and easy, graceful movement. Pilates also improves flexibility, agility, and economy of motion.
Mind-body exercise like Pilates is activity that uses the mental focus of the physical movements being performed. With this type of exercise quality of movement is stressed over quantity of movement. You’ll often see instructors using a lot of verbal “cues” and coaching on things like the quality of breathing, rhythmic inhalation and exhalation during the exercise, and proper body alignment.
Simply put mind-body exercise contributes to overall fitness and assists with engagement of the mind. Because Pilates uses the mind-body connection, it is a great tool in decreasing stress.
No matter what your age or condition, Pilates will improve overall health and wellness by increasing your strength, stability, energy, and focus, ultimately increase your quality of life.
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.
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. Our core is our Power House. When our Power House is strengthened, activities of daily living are performed properly and with greater 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.
In the same vein, many conventional workouts tend to work the same muscles. This leads weak muscles becoming weaker and strong muscles becoming stronger. The result is muscular imbalance – 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. In fact, 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.
Gentle and Challenging
Many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight bearing. Pilates is safe, and even 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 from beginner to advanced. Get the workout that best suits you now and increase the intensity as your body conditioning improves.
That is precisely why Pilates is good for any body type, at any age, regardless of fitness level, and regardless of chronic illness or limitations.