Pilates is something that many people I talk to still don’t quite understand. Most think of it as a form of yoga, and although Pilates and yoga have some similarities, Pilates is much different.
What is Pilates?
Pilates has actually been around for over 100 years now. It was developed in Germany by the late Joseph Pilates. He developed it as a cure for himself of ailments such as asthma. During World War I, he began teaching his methods to others, mostly bedridden military patients who needed exercise to prevent them from getting sicker. It was used almost like physical therapy for them.
In the 1920s, Pilates moved to America where he opened his first official “studio.” It happened to be in the same building as the New York City Ballet — and this is where the “female” and “dancer” workout association comes from.
Until his death 40 years later, he trained many others who have carried on the Pilates traditions. Pilates is one of the most popular workouts today, with classes at almost every gym or athletic club. But the root of Pilates is deep, and many of the exercises have not changed in over 100 years.
Benefits of Pilates:
It’s a Total-Body Workout
While Pilates focuses on core strength, it also develops full-body strength. It ensures that certain muscles will not become overdeveloped or underdeveloped. Pilates promotes balance through the body while increasing flexibility and joint range of motion.
Improves Mind-Body Awareness
Attention to core strength and matching movement with your breath provides a challenge to the mind as well. This mind-body connection becomes important in everyday movement as well as in your other non-Pilates workout routines.
Perfect for Everybody
No matter what your fitness level, Pilates can be adapted to your workout routine. The foundational exercises and movements are used for the very most basic exercises all the way to athletes. With thousands of exercises and modifications, Pilates can be tailored to any individual. Focusing on core strength and proper alignments allows the exerciser to develop the strength to progress at a safe, yet challenging speed.
With each movement, you will work through contracting certain muscles, while finding length through other muscles. Many exercises work on increasing range of motion through a joint or focus on building flexibility through muscles.
With increased core strength and an understanding of the correct alignment that comes with Pilates, better posture will also soon develop. Good posture is a reflection of good alignment supported by a strong core.
The Basics of Pilates
Photo credit: Pixabay