Introduction to Pilates
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen and balance the body. Pilates has proven itself invaluable not only as a ﬁtness endeavor itself, but also as an important adjunct to professional sports training and physical rehabilitation of all kinds.
Professional dancers have known the beneﬁts of Pilates for decades. Top athletes use it for strength, ﬂexibility, and injury prevention. Hollywood celebrities and supermodels use it to maintain beautiful physiques.
This innovative system of mind-body exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates, dramatically transforms the way your body looks, feels and performs. It builds strength without excess bulk, creating a sleek, toned body with ﬁrm, slender thighs and a ﬂat abdomen. It teaches body awareness, good posture and easy, graceful movement. Pilates improves ﬂexibility, agility and economy of motion, and can help alleviate back pain, as well as other ailments. One precisely executed Pilates session is worth more than several hours at the gym— and afterward you’ll feel invigorated, not exhausted.
Instead of performing many repetitions of each exercise, Joseph H. Pilates preferred fewer, more precise movements, requiring proper control and form and focusing on engaging the “Powerhouse” – the abdomen, lower back, buttocks and upper thighs – to support and strengthen the movement of your spine, enabling the rest of the body to move freely. With the Pilates approach to a balanced body, it isn’t necessary to do scores of mindless, repetitive, and exhausting exercises to achieve great results — you’re not likely to suffer undue muscle strain, so there’s little risk of injury. And because your mind is required to engage with your body to perform the movements correctly, you experience a new awareness of muscle function and control that spills over into other areas of your life.
A Timeless Movement System
Now more than ever, Pilates is pertinent to the way you live your life. Think about your work and recreation habits. They both probably involve sitting still for extended periods of time. The result is a constant state of oxygen deprivation and disproportionate muscle development. Getting up for a short stretch or a drink of water feels great, doesn’t it? That’s because you’re satisfying your body’s natural instinct to move— and moving around works the muscles and pumps more oxygen into your brain and body. Your body craves motion.
Pilates is all about breathing and moving more fully— both of which we need to do more often. Over the past half-century, our “civilized” Western lifestyle has become increasingly sedentary; while our bodies, which evolved in nature and were built for action, have not changed in design. The Pilates Method puts action back into your life— natural, controlled, healthful, ﬂuid, and graceful action.
Explore The Benefits of Pilates:
Enjoy a refreshing mind-body workout
Pilates gets your mind in tune with your body. By emphasizing proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment and concentration on smooth, flowing movement, Pilates makes you aware of how your body feels, where it is in space, and how to control its movement. In this system, it is not about the quantity of repetitions, but about the quality of movement and proper breathing. Last but not least, Pilates sessions leave you feeling centered and stress-free.
Build strength without “bulking up” – gain long, lean muscles and ﬂexibility
Conventional workouts 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.
Develop your core – ﬂat abdominals, strong back, and a supple spine.
Pilates exercises develop strength in what we refer to as your “Powerhouse” – the center of the body, which includes the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine, the muscles in the back, the glutes and the upper thigh muscles. Control of the Powerhouse is achieved by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle, helping you develop a strong, aligned and graceful body, with a lifted spine and tall posture.
Create an evenly conditioned body and prevent sports injuries
In conventional workouts, weak muscles tend to get weaker and strong muscles tend to get 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 and less chance of injury.
Learn efﬁcient patterns of motion
Pilates exercises train multiple muscle groups at once using smooth, continuous movements. By developing proper technique, you can actually teach your body to move in safer, more efficient patterns of motion, which is invaluable for injury recovery, sports performance, good posture and optimal health.
Be conﬁdent and safe
No other exercise system is so gentle to your body while giving it a challenging workout. Many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions and most are no impact or low impact.
Pilates is so safe, it is used in physical therapy facilities for injury rehabilitation.
And be challenged
Pilates is also an extremely flexible exercise system. Modifications to the exercises allow a range of difficulty for beginners to advanced practitioners. Get the workout that best suits you now and increase the intensity as your body becomes more conditioned and strong.