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Everyone is Talking About Pilates!...What Exactly is That Again?

Pilates Benefits: Weight Loss, Strength, Flexibility, and Not Looking Like a Sack of Potatoes When Your Older!

The Pilates Method is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Joseph Pilates called the method "The Art of Contrology", which refers to the way the method encourages the use of the mind to control the muscles. It is an exercise program that focuses on the core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of neutral alignment of the spine and strengthening the deep postural muscles that support this alignment, which are important to help alleviate and prevent back pain.

Joseph Pilates at age 57

Joseph Pilates at age 57

In World War I, Joseph Pilates served as a medic for the captured German forces interned in Britain. He was investigating ways that soldiers could rehabilitate themselves while bed-ridden. Thus the creation of a series of movements that could be done in this position was created. The Pilates Cadilac is based off an old hospital bed.

Instead of performing many repetitions of each exercise, Pilates preferred fewer, more precise movements, requiring control and form. He designed more than 500 specific exercises. The most frequent form, called "matwork," involves a series of calisthenic motions performed without weight or apparatus on a padded mat. He believed that mental health and physical health were essential to one another. Pilates created what is claimed to be a method of total body conditioning that emphasizes proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement (the Pilates Principles) that results in increased flexibility, strength, muscle tone, body awareness, energy, and improved mental concentration. Joseph Pilates also designed five major pieces of unique exercise equipment that he claimed should be used for best results. Although the two techniques are often taught separately now, the technique was always meant to combine both matwork and equipment exercises. A recent development is gravity Pilates. In all forms, the "powerhouse" (abdomen, lower back, and buttocks) is supported and strengthened, enabling the rest of the body to move freely.

Next: Pilates: Helping You to Heal

Adapted from: Pilates


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