Pilates – What is Pilates?
Pilates is a method of body conditioning that is a unique system of exercise, movement and focused breathing designed to stretch and strengthen the body. It was developed over ninety years ago by the late Joseph H. Pilates. Pilates can be practiced on specifically designed equipment created by Joe or by doing his “Contrology” exercises on a mat. With consistent practice, Pilates promotes:.
With consistent practice, Pilates promotes:
- Optimal health, alignment and movement retraining
- Strengthens and tones muscles
- Increases lung capacity
- Improves posture
- Provides flexibility and balance
- Unites body and mind
- Creates a more streamlined shape
Although a full body work out, because of its emphasis on the core, Pilates is an excellent way to strengthen the abdominal, lower back and pelvic regions. Pilates is often used in rehabilitation and post-rehabilitation training of those individuals who suffer from back, hip or neck pain.
Joe Pilates guides student through ladder barrel exercise. Photo courtesy of the Pilates Method Alliance
Who is Joseph Pilates?
Joseph Pilates was a sickly child who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. In an effort to make and keep his body healthy he studied yoga, Zen and ancient Greek and Roman physical exercise regimes.
At the outbreak of World War I, while living in England as a performer and boxer, Pilates was placed under forced internment along with other German nationals in Lancaster, England. It was at this time that he began devising the original mat work exercises that he referred to as “Contrology”.
A few years later he was transferred to another camp where he began working with bedridden patients who were unable to walk or exercise. Joseph Pilates attached springs to their beds which enabled them to exercise their limbs, gain strength and improve at a quicker rate. This form of rehabilitation was the beginning of his spring based machines.
To find out more about Pilates please visit the Pilates Method Alliance at www.pilatesmethodalliance.org.
Joe Pilates performes roll over exercise. Photo courtesy of the Pilates Method Alliance