What is Pilates?
Pilates is a series of exercises designed to improve flexibility and strength, particularly in the core and the back, through a variety of toning, stretching and balancing movements. It was developed by Joseph Pilates.
Pilates helps improve strength, range of motion and core control, which together help to reduce risk of injury. It reduces stress, relieves tension, and boosts energy,as well as the following:
- Focuses on core strength and stability, creating a stronger, more flexible spine.
- Offers relief from stress and back pain.
- Elongates the muscles without creating bulk.
- Promotes recovery from injury.
- Increases joint motion.
- Improves circulation.
- Heightens neuromuscular coordination.
- Helps to correct postural defects.
- Enhances mobility, agility and stamina.
- Improves the appearance of the body, increasing overall self-esteem and self-confidence.
Pilates stresses the blend of Western and Eastern approaches to well-being and encourages the mind and body to work in synergy.
Who can use the Pilates method?
Pilates is for everyone – the young, the old, the sedentary, the athletic, and those who have challenging disabilities or injuries and who may require rehabilitation pre and post surgery.
It is recommended by chiropractors, physiotherapists and doctors. This method is world renowned and taught by fitness and health professionals worldwide. Pilates is recommended for those with back problems and other issues, because core strength is the essence of spinal support. Pilates’ balanced approach ensures that no muscle group is overworked and as a result the body develops as an efficient, holistic system.
Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in 1880 near Dusseldorf in Germany. From a frail child he worked relentlessly at body building and conditioning until by the age of 14 he began posing for anatomical drawings, going on to become a sportsman and gymnast.
He instructed fellow internees during the First World War. He worked as a nurse and experimented with springs attached to hospital beds so that patients could work at toning their muscles. He created the Reformer amongst other popular pieces of equipment still in use today. His focus was on breathing and slow controlled rhythmic movements. He died in 1967.