Pilates is a form of exercise that was developed in the early 20thcentury by Joseph Pilates in Germany. It is an exercise method that is designed to elongate the body, strengthen the core postural muscles and restore the body to balance. Over time and through daily incorrect movement, our muscles can become weak and/or tight, affecting the body’s posture and resulting in muscle imbalance. Pilates works to strengthen the weak muscles and stretch the tight ones. Each exercise is performed consciously, with slow precision and a particular breathing pattern. It works every muscle group in the body and especially targets the muscles which stabilise the joints to encourage correct body mechanics and a constant flow of energy.
Central to Pilates is ‘awareness of your own body’ and each and every exercise is built around its eight basic principles:
- Flowing Movements
The connection between the mind and body is fundamental to Pilates. It trains the mind to maintain an awareness of how the body moves and teaches you how to be in control of your body, resulting in improved technique and enabling you to achieve relaxation more easily.
It is this holistic approach that sets Pilates apart from many other forms of exercise. Osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists and general practitioners recommend Pilates as one of the safest forms of exercise today. Exercises can be mat or machine-based and are performed in sequences that use gravity, bodyweight and equipment as forms of resistance to strengthening the deep, stabilising muscles of the body.
Pilates can be beneficial for everyone, regardless of age, sex, ability and fitness level!
Some of the benefits are:
- Greater muscle tone and strength
- Increased flexibility and mobility of joints
- Improved core stability and tightened pelvic floor
- Better balance and coordination
- Long, lean muscles
- Increased bone density
- Improved posture and body awareness
- Reduced risk of injury and injury rehabilitation
- Decreased back pain and posture related headaches
- Reduced stress levels and increased concentration
- Flatter stomachs, firmer bums and trimmer thighs