What is Pilates?
Pilates is the last name of a man named Joe. He is also the founder of an exercise method named Contrology, the art of control. Contrology, has since become known to the world as just Pilates. Pilates is a highly effective whole body exercise developed for both men and women. Pilates emphasizes control, concentration, precision, breathing, rhythm and flow throughout all the exercises to obtain greater overall fitness, as well as a balanced and flexible body. Pilates is great for strengthening your core, lengthening muscles, improving posture, preventing injuries, increasing concentration and enhancing your energy.
What are some of the benefits of Pilates?
The ability to develop your core strength, increase flexibility, enhance athletic performance, transform your posture and assist with injury recovery, are just a few of the Pilates benefits. Pilates benefits men, women, the young and old, as well as athletes, dancers and those looking to commit to or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise routines can be tailored for the individual at all levels of fitness.
A regular Pilates workout...
- Improves strength in the whole body
- Improves athletic performance
- Improves agility
- Corrects imbalances in the body
- Develops better posture
- Develops flexibility through two-way stretching
- Limbers the spine
- Helps relieve chronic back and joint pain
- Develops body awareness and mental focus
- Develops lung capacity through breathing (Joseph Pilates was an asthmatic)
- Builds stamina
- Improves balance and coordination
- Improves mental focus and body awareness
- Increases blood circulation
- Supports postpartum redevelopment of the core and pelvis
- Is safe for those working through injuries
- Can help you feel better in your body and look good!
What Pilates is not...
Pilates isn't rehabilitation or physical therapy, it's a form of exercise. As a teacher of Pilates, I don't intend to teach Pilates as a replacement for injury rehabilitation, my job is to teach you safe and effective exercise. I'd like to leave the rehabilitation to your therapist or doctor first. If you are recovering from an injury, we recommend obtaining a physician's or physical therapist's advice before starting any exercise program. Once you are given the green light to work out, Pilates is an excellent and safe way to exercise and get stronger, due to its low impact nature and strengthening of muscles in a controlled manner.
Where do I start?
First, think about what you want from a Pilates program.
- Are you looking to gain more flexibility, strength, or work on posture?
- Pilates counteracts many damaging effects from work-related postures and motions, by strengthening the "powerhouse." Strengthening the "powerhouse" allows the whole body to become stronger, connecting all the weaker areas to your strong "powerhouse." A strong core, is essential for improving mobility in your limbs. Pilates also incorporates oppositional stretching, so while one part of the body is stretching, the other is engaging and strengthening.
- Athletes - are you looking to improve your current sports conditioning with something extra?
- Pilates is a great cross-training tool - it will help to increase your focus, develop more coordination and balance areas of your body, through development of the "powerhouse." Pilates not only develops the core, it helps you develop a limber spine, develop good alignment, strengthens limbs, and increases flexibility. All great things for improving athletic performance.
- Is Pilates good for weight loss?
- Pilates helped me transform my body into a leaner and stronger body, and along the way I lost weight. When you progress in the classical Pilates system, you should be able to develop a routine which will leave you feeling worked out and energized. Ideally 2-3 times per week is good for maintaining muscle strength, and helping to shed some weight, but every body is different. In my opinion weight loss comes from a combination of exercise and a good, clean, healthy diet.
- Will Pilates be your only form of exercise during the week? If so, how often can you work out?
- Joseph Pilates once said, " In ten lessons you'll feel a difference, in twenty you'll see a difference, and in thirty you'll have a whole new body." How soon you achieve results depends on how often you do a Pilates workout in a studio, or at home. In addition to your in-studio exercises, I like my students to do some homework, to keep the mind and body connection going.
- Are you recovering from an injury ?
- Pilates emphasizes control and precision. It also is a great way to limber the body and increase circulation, which can help in the healing process. Though Pilates you develop strength, proper alignment, and good techniques for working out while injured, which will help to heal and protect your body from further injuries.
- Are you dealing with a chronic illness?
- A Pilates instructor can work with you and design a customer program suited for you.
Reaching your goals can be easier if you know what you want to obtain. Once you have a plan, talk to your instructor about how to reach your goals through Pilates. As a trainer, I'm here to teach you the exercises and to help you develop the skills, knowledge and capability to reach your goals. I want you to get the most out of your Pilates practice, but you also have to keep your goals in mind, and make a commitment to them.
Next, do a little research on studios in your area, and find a studio that offers an intro package or offers private sessions. Having a few private sessions will help you get started with a strong, basic foundation. From there you could continue with your privates, or try some small group classes.
With the classical Pilates method, you will start with the basics and once you master those, you progress to intermediate and advanced exercises. In each stage you'll learn the authentic order and understand how mastering the basics helps you build a solid, challenging workout with rhythm and flow.
The bottom line is that you should feel inspired, motivated and challenged with your Pilates or other fitness routines, as you'll be more likely to get the results you want. There are many types of Pilates instruction to choose from these days and knowing you have a choice, have fun and choose the type of class or instructor that suits you, your body, your workout style and most of all one that brings a smile to your face.