What is Pilates?

Originally, the goal of pilates was to help injured athletes and dancers recover. Athlete and bodybuilder, Joseph Pilates, invented this method almost a century ago as a set of rehabilitative exercises. However, gradually, this modality gained ground as a workout that strengthens the core and improves flexibility. Today, pilates both rehabilitates and keeps people fit. It's no longer just for athletes and dancers. Even physical fitness beginners can do it. Calisthenics, yoga, and ballet movements are the building blocks of pilates. As such, pilates movements are focused on stretching and lengthening all the major muscle groups. And, because they are done in sequence, they can perform all these flexibility movements in a balanced manner. These exercises aim to build up muscular and postural strength and flexibility. 

How does it work?

Exercises in this modality can be aerobic and non-aerobic. For all the movements, though, concentration is key. Because the movements will challenge your balance, you need to focus to find the centre point from which you can control your muscles. Each exercise has a prescribed breathing pattern. Also, the exercises require specific rhythms and sequences of movements. They are not static, unlike yoga. Instead, pilates exercises are designed to place you in unstable positions. Then, by moving your limbs, you adjust your body to find your balance. All these movements tighten your muscles, strengthen your core, and stretch everything that needs to be elastic and flexible. 

What can you expect from a session?

First of all, come to the pilates studio wearing form-fitting workout clothes. This way, the instructor can see if your position and posture are correct. As for footwear, studios have different rules. If they require you to wear just socks, remember to use a pair with rubber detailing on the soles so you don't slip. Now, contrary to some strengthening workouts, pilates does not use frenzied exercises meant to push you to your limits. Rather, you do the sequences in easy and slow repetitions. Usually, just 5 to 10 reps per exercise are enough. You can do the exercises either on a mat (which is thicker than the standard yoga mat) or using a machine called a reformer. Aptly named, this machine is a sliding platform that's equipped with springs or bands. These help isolate and strengthen your muscles as you exercise. Although the exercises are low-intensity, you will still be working your muscles. So expect them to hurt a bit the next day if you're not used to physical exertion. 

Which conditions can pilates help ease?

  • Anger

  • ADD

  • ADHD

  • Anxiety

  • Arthritis

  • Autism

  • Back pain

  • Dementia

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Fertility

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Grief

  • Pregnancy

  • PTSD

  • Sleep disorder

  • Sports injury

  • Stress

  • Weight management

Pilates can also help improve health and wellness as well as mindset, foster personal development, and raise self confidence.

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