Pilates is an excellent method of improving overall health and fitness. It is a system of exercise encompassing both mind and body which uses the 6 principles…
[dropcap]P[/dropcap]ilates is an excellent method of improving overall health and fitness.
What is pilates?
It is a system of exercise encompassing both mind and body which uses the 6 principles of Pilates: centering, control, flow, breath, precision and concentration.
Pilates does not depend on multiple repetitions of each exercise, valuing instead quality over quantity. This means that to achieve desired results with Pilates each exercise should be performed precisely in a controlled fashion.
This system ensures that core stability is enhanced by strengthening abdominal muscles and pelvic stability. One of the side-effects of regular Pilates is a much improved posture and beautifully taut tummy, which creates an illusion of greater height and enhances the appearance of slimness.
Who is pilates good for?
Pilates is suitable for all fitness levels and ages; a proliferation of beginner classes has led to an unfair assumption that Pilates is ‘easy’. Because the exercises are performed slowly it can seem, to the untrained observer, that there is not too much effort involved, but once skill and fitness levels have grown the intermediate and advanced Pilates classes will prove a taxing workout for even the fittest athlete.
The system is flexible and can adapt to specialized needs if required, but the end aim is to achieve harmony between mind and body and allow a full range of motion in the body.
This coupled with the focus on core strength makes Pilates an excellent exercise for people who suffer from back problems; often in the process of the class poor posture is corrected and tension in back and shoulder muscles relieved, which can dramatically decrease back pain.
Is pilates for weight loss?
The system can be used to help in weight loss, but it must be emphasised that the very easy classes will not burn many calories and will need to be modified to increase resistance levels, possibly by including small weights in the process.
Is pilates just for women? What is its history?
Despite pilates’ reputation as being an exercise geared towards women it did initially start out to help men.
Joseph Pilates created the system in 1920, while working with injured soldiers to rehabilitate them after battlefield injuries. So successful was his system that many soldiers were soon back on their feet and recovering well.
Mr. Pilates and his wife moved to the United States and quickly gained a reputation for helping injured dancers back to work. Only in the last decade or so have the 6 principles of Pilates been recognized as having a sound scientific basis and the system has dramatically growth in popularity.
What celebrities have had success with pilates?
Many people all over the world now take advantage of Pilates classes to get fit, help them to lose weight and to improve their body alignment to treat pain and discomfort.
Andy Murray, the Olympic gold medal-winning tennis player went to a Pilates class to help recover from a painful back injury and discovered that the classes improved his mind-set to the point that his coach and manager, not to mention the press, all mentioned how much happier and more cheerful he was.
Hilary Duff regained her svelte figure after having her baby boy by attending regular Pilates sessions. She has been widely praised for losing her baby-weight sensibly and in a controlled manner, rather than by trying to rush back into her pre-pregnancy clothes.
‘The Body’ Australian super-model Elle Macpherson likes to stay fit with Pilates, even popping into a class when she was in London on a recent visit. Actor Mila Kunis received mixed reviews when she shed a dramatic 20 pounds for her role in the movie “Black Swan” but has returned to her more laid-back routine of snowboarding (in season), Pilates and ‘a bit of weights’. This regime has served her well as the many glimpses of her toned nude form in her latest movie ‘Friends with Benefits’ can attest.
Even the famous derriere of Pippa Middleton, much admired during her sister’s wedding to Prince William, is due in part to her enjoyment of Pilates. Other celebs who sing the praises of Pilates include Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham and Hugh Grant who boasted ‘I now have muscles of steel and could easily deal with giving birth!’