What is Pilates:
- a highly adaptable exercise programme which uses a distinct way of breathing, resistance and gravity to take the body through a healthy range of movement;
- developed by Joseph and Clara Pilates over the course of a lifetime devoted to promoting physical and mental wellbeing;
- includes a repertoire of low impact, low repetition stretching and conditioning exercises which strengthen, elongate and restore the body to balance;
- suitable for all ages, sizes, abilities and fitness levels;
- provides an opportunity to stop. breathe, learn to listen to the body and respond to its needs;
- has at its heart eight key principles:
- core strength or centering
- relaxation, i.e. only using the muscles needed to execute a movement, allowing the others to relax
- flowing movement
Benefits of Pilates:
- improved posture;
- balanced muscle use;
- increased strength, particularly around the core of the body;
- improved functioning of the heart and lungs, which boosts the circulation and respiratory systems;
- greater flexibility and mobility of the spine and other key joints;
- improved body awareness, balance and co-ordination;
- reduced stress and tension;
- a greater sense of physical and mental wellbeing;
- fewer injuries and improved performance for sports people.
Getting the most from Pilates:
Pilates involves taking your body through a fuller range of movement than perhaps t’s used to, and offers a new way of experiencing your body. It can be difficult at first to get to grips with the breathing and some of the other elements of Pilates, but as is the case when taking up any new sport or activity, it takes time to learn the skills required to perform it well. With this in mind, a few tips:
- Commit at the outset to taking ten classes. This will provide you with the chance to master the breathing and get used to the different exercises. It will also allow time for you to start seeing and feeling the benefits.
- Try and make Pilates an integral part of your life rather than just a class you attend each week. There will be exercises that suit you better or that you can feel doing your body good. Try to do these at home on your own between classes.