It is thought that Pilates originated in the early 20th century and was invented by a gentleman named Joseph Pilates.
Joseph was quite unwell as a child, contracting a range of conditions such as rheumatic fever, rickets, and asthma.
He was quite a determined fellow and wanted to beat these conditions.
He tried everything, but nothing that was available at the time seemed to do the trick.
He spent some time developing his own exercises and selected a few that seemed to improve his condition in the areas of his body where he needed it most.
Over time, he worked out an original and particular regime that provided him with the ideal harmony of flexibility, balance, and strength.
And so, Pilates was born.
His wife Clara and himself migrated to the USA in 1926 and he set up his own workshop and treated many clients, ranging from boxers to ballet dancers and many more.
He passed away in 1967 and his legacy and teachings have formulated into one of the most popular and influential in today’s times.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise that involves stretching your muscles in a balanced manner.
Unlike other classes which may encourage sweat and exertion, the main pilates focus is concentration and repetition.
Repetitions are generally conducted in segments of 5 – 10 and you can expect each session to last anywhere between 45 – 90 minutes.
Breathing is a large part of the session, with the focus needed to locate a central point to your body by moving.
Each and every exercise has its own unique style of breathing as well as how to move your body.
Pilates balances your complete body’s overall structure and supports its joints.
It is made up of movements that may appear easy and simple, but can actually be quite difficult and intense.
These are highly effective when done correctly.
Pilates is a low-impact workout that improves neuromuscular patterns and muscle balance to produce maximum strength.
There are actually 2 different types of Pilates.
This version involves the use of certain equipment, which assists in providing some resistance to your muscles.
This method works with your own body weight to help support and work your muscles.
Who can do Pilates?
Pilates can be done by anyone, regardless of fitness level.
Although, as with any exercise program, it’s important to seek medical advice for your personal alignments and conditions before commencing.
This is especially important if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, are pregnant, have had surgery or are prone to seizures, have heart issues, experience dizzy spells, and have balance issues.
What are the benefits of Pilates?
Whether you are considering signing up for one of the various pilates instructor courses or simply want to improve your own flexibility and fitness, there are many benefits to Pilates.
11 Benefits of Pilates
1. It helps you become more aware of your body and how it works
This form of exercise works for both your body and mind.
It requires concentration and awareness of breathing and your body movements and where your tolerance level is.
2. It improves your flexibility
Pilates gently stretches your muscles with slow and precise exercises.
Conditioned practice improves your skills and tolerance in this area, making your body and brain more flexible.
3. It helps those all-important core muscles
Pilates is renowned for emphasizing the core, which is the center of the body and the source of all movement.
The entire group of muscles that surround the trunk, when developed and made flexible, form the core, which supports and stabilizes the body.
4. It helps with stress management
A large part of Pilates involves breathing and breathing is a fundamental component in the teaching and practice of meditation and mindfulness.
This helps decrease stress levels and lower cortisol as well as regulate the nervous system.
With time and practice, it might help you feel quite Zen.
5. It helps you feel good
Any exercise assists with releasing those wonderful feel-good endorphins.
This can help you find extra motivation to keep going and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
6. It can help with performance in sports and in the bedroom
All that work on flexibility and stamina is bound to reap benefits in other sports exercises and regimes, as well as bedroom activities.
It’s been linked to improving endurance, mobility, as well as your pelvic floor strength.
It also strengthens muscles and gives greater muscle tone, and more endurance.
This can only help other activities more fun!
7. It helps your brain work better too
Exercise improves cognitive functioning as it increases blood flow to the brain.
This in turn can promote the growth of new neurons which can be linked to learning, memory, and executive function.
8. It can improve your balance too
Anyone of any age or ability can benefit from balance, which is crucial for everyday coordinated motions such as walking as well as nonlinear ones like reaching up and twisting.
Pilates strengthens the core, but it also focuses on alignment and whole-body exercises, which help with balance and gait.
9. It can help enhance your posture too
Over time, some of us may have picked up bad habits, such as slouching when sitting or standing.
Participating in pilates helps re-align your posture and improve those weak conditioned muscles.
This may help alleviate or decrease back, neck, and shoulder pain which may have occurred due to poor posture and body conditioning.
Pilates helps you develop an awareness of how you stand and where your posture sits in relation to your body.
10. It can give you an energy boost
As pilates focuses on your breath, it can improve your cardiorespiratory capacity.
This is a chain reaction, flowing through to those lovely feel-good hormones.
Oxygen delivery and blood circulation are all stimulated by this.
11. It provides an all-important boost to your immunity
Pilates works to improve a great number of things, including circulation.
This provides a boost to the immune system’s function, which in turn helps immunity.
Along with the overall improved function of your body, with increased flexibility and stamina, your health can only surpass its previous condition.