Pilates

Pain Management
Mental Wellbeing
Immunity
Weight Management
Hormonal Imbalance
Digestive Health

Main benefits

Enhances physical fitness and helps improve muscle strength and tone

Helps improve flexibility, coordination and balance

Helps with posture and correct body alignment

Helps to relieve back, neck, and joint pain

Helps with stress reduction, and enhances overall sense of wellbeing

Helps with chronic and neurological conditions

What is and how it works

Pilates is a physical fitness system and form of exercise which concentrates on strengthening the whole body. A number of versions of Pilates are taught today and the majority are based on the original principles: breathing, centring, concentration, control, flow, postural alignment, precision, relaxation and stamina.

 

The two basic forms of Pilates are:
Mat-based Pilates

This is a series of exercises performed on the floor using gravity and your own body weight to provide resistance. The main aim is to condition the deeper, supporting muscles of your body to improve posture, balance and coordination

Equipment-based Pilates

This includes specific equipment which works against spring-loaded resistance, including the 'reformer’, which is a moveable carriage which you push and pull along its tracks. Some forms of Pilates include weights (such as dumbbells) and other types of small equipment which offer resistance to the muscles.

Pilates' system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginner to advanced or to any other level in accordance with the practitioner's specific goals for the client's needs.  Intensity can be increased over time as the body adapts itself to the exercises. Classes can be tailored to offer either a gentle exercise program or a complete rigorous workout.

 

Many rehabilitation clinics and wellness centres offer Pilates as a form of physical therapy. Research has found that Pilates can be an effective treatment for injuries and chronic and neurological illnesses. Pilates is also extremely beneficial for people with back pain, as the exercises focus mainly on the core, which includes the abdominal and spinal areas. Pilates is not classed as an aerobic exercise, but rather a muscle strengthening form of exercise, so for effective weight management, it is recommended to combine Pilates with a healthy diet and regular aerobic activity. Pilates does, however, help trim and tone certain areas of the body, especially the stomach, legs and buttocks.

Origins

Joseph Pilates was born near Düsseldorf, Germany in 1883, and grew up in a family focused on exercise and health as his father was a gymnast, and his mother a naturopath. As a frail child suffering from asthma, rickets and having had rheumatic fever, young Joseph was determined to overcome these disadvantages, and this led him to become a competent gymnast, diver and skier. As part of his drive to full health, he developed a system of exercises intended to strengthen the human body and mind, as he believed that mental and physical health were interrelated.

 

Pilates emigrated to the USA in the early 1920s with his wife Clara, and together they further developed and taught the method in their 'body-conditioning gym', initially helping injured celebrity athletes and dancers safely return to exercise and recover their fitness. Joseph developed many forms of ‘apparatus’ to further enhance his exercise technique, and together with Clara they taught the first generation of instructors. In 1932 Pilates published a booklet called 'Your Health' and followed this with another called 'Return to Life Through Contrology' in 1945. Through these writings and his students, his method was passed on after his death in 1967 at the age of 83. During his lifetime this method of exercise was called Contrology. It was only after his death that it became known as the Pilates Method.

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