Pilates – What is It?
Pilates is an exercise regime designed to improve breathing, co-ordination, concentration, strength and body awareness. Pilates focuses on the small stabilising muscle groups of the body as opposed to the larger torque-producing global muscles. Evidence shows that a tailored Pilates programme taught by a qualified teacher, can provide effective relief to people with non-specific lower back pain. In this respect, Pilates is a fantastic rehabilitative technique.
Who invented Pilates?
Created by Joseph Pilates, a German physical-culturalist, during the first half of the 20th century, Pilates incorporates various elements of both Western and Eastern (yoga, martial arts) exercise. It conditions the body and helps to build flexibility and long, lean muscles, strength and endurance in the back, hips, arms, abdominals and legs.
Pilates is fantastic for:
• Improved day to day posture – an ideal antidote for those with jobs involving repetitive movement and strain such as hairdressers, drivers, heavy lifting work and office jobs.
• Improved muscle tone, reduced back pain and increased body awareness.
• Improved concentration.
• Prevention of injury and improvement of all round health.
• Improved digestion and breathing.
• Greater ability to relax and unwind.
• Strengthening pelvic floor and abdominal muscles – great for post-natal recovery.
Pilates puts great emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, correct breathing in order to relieve stress (and also allow adequate oxygen flow to muscles), development of a strong core or center (by toning toning the abdominals while strengthening the back), and the improvement of coordination and balance.