Pilates

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What is Pilates?

Pilates is a technique that was pioneered in the 1930s by Joseph Pilates, a German who was involved in numerous sports. He combined techniques used in martial arts and gymnastics to produce his own training technique. This method of exercise and physical movement were designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. With systematic practice of specific exercises coupled with focused breathing patterns, Pilates has proven itself invaluable not only as a fitness endeavour, but also as an important adjunct to professional sports training and physical rehabilitation of all kinds.

The exercises are done in a slow and controlled manner, which the aim of targeting specific muscles that improve posture.

There are a number of key principles behind the exercises:

  • Relaxation

  • Concentration

  • Body Alignment

  • Breathing Control

  • Core Stability

  • Smoothness of Movement

  • Stamina

  • Coordination

Breathing techniques are taught and relaxation is essential. Those who practise Pilates are taught to recognize their postural alignment in the spine and pelvis, and to correct any abnormalities. The use of the wrong muscles is discouraged and core stability is slowly mastered. Once posture and core stability are present, more movements are added and then progressed. The techniques are started on mats, with more advanced exercises making use of specialist equipment.

Benefits of Pilates

General Fitness

  1. Improves posture mobility and flexibility

  2. Increases muscle tone and length

  3. Promotes a more supportive core

  4. Increases stability for the pelvis and shoulders

  5. Fosters the health of joints

  6. Compliments training for athletes and dancers

  7. Integrates mind, body and spirit

Health Conditions

  1. Facilitates physical rehabilitation and prevents injuries

  2. Develops lungs function and circulation

  3. Maintains bone density

  4. Alleviates aches and pains

Who is Pilates suitable for?

Anyone can do Pilates as the exercises can be modified for various body types, fitness levels and health conditions. Pilates enthusiasts range from the 80-year-old back pain sufferer to the elite athlete.

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