What is Pilates?
First developed in the late 19th century, Pilates, pronounced Pi-laa-teez, is a method of physical conditioning comprised of over 500 exercises, performed on a mat or on specialized equipment. A challenging, precise and intelligent workout for the whole body, Pilates is effective for people of all ages and all activity levels. Pilates is recognized as a comprehensive system of physical and mental conditioning and is recommended by fitness experts, athletic therapists, and physiotherapists across North America.
Pilates is the thinking persons exercise. You think, sense and feel your entire body during every exercise and focus intently on many muscles and joints simultaneously. The result? A stimulating exercise experience that challenges both body and mind.
Who Developed It?
Pilates was first developed by Joseph Pilates. As a child, Joe suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. His commitment to physical conditioning helped him overcome his ailments and eventually led him to become a competitive diver, skier, boxer, and gymnast. By the 1940’s, his method had gained considerable notoriety as athletes and dancers flocked to his New York City studio. Today devotees include the New York City Ballet, tennis star Chris Evert, and members of the San Francisco 49ers. Pilates simply makes sense. It keeps you in peak condition for optimum health.
How Does It Work?
Pilates teaches people that effective exercise is about quality rather than quantity. You learn to respect your body as an integrated system made up of interrelated parts. The aim is to train muscles and joints for optimal movement and efficient body mechanics.
Conditioning muscles and improving joint mobility does not happen by doing more repetitions faster and harder. Pilates is not about numbers. Rather it is about positive physical changes occurring because people begin to understand how muscles and bones work together.
The strong, integrated, Pilates-trained body is built on awareness, attention to detail, and the realization that you must always work with your body rather than against. No pain, no gain has no meaning in a Pilates session.
Pilates-based exercise can be adapted for just about anybody from elite athletes to those looking to keep their bodies fit and healthy to people recovering from injury.
Athletes and dancers use Pilates to stay highly tuned, injury free, and ready for peak performance. For the general public, Pilates offers a refreshing change from traditional types of exercise. You become stronger, more flexible, and rejuvenated WITHOUT jarring or straining your body in the process.
For those in rehabilitation, Pilates is unsurpassed. Modified Pilates exercises are restorative, safe, and beneficial.
Information courtesy of Margot McKinnon, Body Harmonics Pilates