Pilates and You
“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference.In 20 you’ll see the difference, and in 30 you’ll have a new body” – Joseph H. Pilates
What is Pilates?
Pilates (pronounced puh-LAH-teez) is an extraordinary conditioning system which works out the entire body. This unique method of was created by Joseph Pilates more than 30 years ago.
Joseph Pilates, born in Germany in 1880, was a man of diverse interests and accomplishments, including gymnastics, diving, skiing and boxing. It’s interesting to note that a man who eventually came to help thousands of people retrain and reshape their bodies started out as a frail, weak child himself. His desire to strengthen his own body led him to create his program of body conditioning. Though Pilates had no formal training in medicine, during World War I, while working as a nurse, he came up with the idea of attaching springs to hospital beds to assist patients in becoming stronger before they were able to leave their beds. These exercises led him to create an apparatus he called the “Universal Reformer”, along with mat exercises which he would eventually bring to the United States in the late 20″s.
Pilates felt strongly about focusing on the body as a whole, not dividing it into separate parts. He believed that with fewer, more precise, more concentrated movements (Quality vs. Quantity), a series of specific exercises would elongate and balance the muscles and turn the abdominal muscles, lower back and hips into the body’s “power-house”. Because the focus is on doing the movements with correct posture, most workouts are supervised by a Pilates instructor. Close instruction also prevents unnecessary injuries due to sloppy execution.
Is Pilates different from other forms of exercises?
Pilates is different from most exercises out there because it ‘s low impact (less stress on your joints), safe and it works the body as a whole. Every exercise focuses on the “power-house”, using your abdominal muscles to protect your back. You’re also using the body very evenly and symmetrically, making sure one side is not working harder than the other. Helps improve your posture and stretches your muscles during each exercise.
Is Pilates an exercise that can benefit everyone?
Pilates method offers a great deal to everyone. Young and old, athletes and couch potatoes, pregnant and postnatal moms — this system will help to bring each body into balance, decreasing injury and pain—a fact that more physicians, surgeons, physical therapists, and sports medicine clinics are realizing as more and more professionals are incorporating the Pilates method into their rehabilitation programs.
Is Pilates an exercise you can do every day?
Pilates is safe enough to do every day. Initially you may want to do the matwork 4xs/wk so you get the rhythm and become habitual. Joseph Pilates recommended 3 xs/wk.. Just be consistent.
Describe one of the pieces of equipment used in Pilates
There are several pieces of equipment used in Pilates (Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Hi & Low Barrel, Chair, etc… ). The Reformer, the most widely known and used piece of equipment, is an apparatus that has a sliding carriage within a rectangular, bed-like frame. Springs provide varying resistance to the carriage, depending upon how many are attached. Straps at the end accommodate the arms or legs.
What should a person look for in a Pilates Studio & instructor?
Because Pilates has become so popular there are a lot of instructors “claiming” to be Pilates trained. It is important to use good judgment and don’t hesitate to ask questions regarding their training and education. Make sure they have studied at least 600 hours with a certifying school such as Physicalmind Institute, New York Pilates or Stott. Also ask if the instructor/studio is insured. A Pilates Studio should have a few pieces of Pilates equipment other than the reformer. This will give you variety and prevent future boredom.
Will Pilates continue to grow in popularity?
A few years ago, there were only a few Pilates studios open or even known outside the elite worlds of professional athletics and dance. Today there are more than 200 studios and twice as many Pilates instructors in the United States alone. Entertainment professionals have discovered the body-shaping rewards of Pilates. Actors such as Michelle Pfeiffer, Denise Richards, Julia Roberts, Madonna, Faith Hill, Vanessa Williams, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Aniston, Glenn Close, Jane Seymour, Jasmine Guy, Jessica Lange, Lou Gossett, Jr., Gregory Peck, Bill Murray and others have all benefited from the Pilates method. Athletes like Kristi Yamaguchi, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, diver Wendy Williams, 2000 Olympic Gold medalist Jennie Thompson, members of the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals, and the University of Oklahoma Collegiate Wrestling Team have all employed Pilates for rehabilitation and cross training. The Martha Graham Company, The New York City Ballet, The San Francisco Ballet and The Houston Ballet are but a few dance companies that use the Pilates method to strengthen their dancers from corps to soloists.
In the media, Joseph H. Pilates and his unique approach to body conditioning have been talked about in Elle, Allure,Los Angeles Times, Glamour, Fitness Magazine and Dance Magazine. The flurry of recent interest vindicates Joseph H. Pilates, who himself believed that he was ahead of his time, and whose time has come….again. This state-of-the-art fitness strategy is an ideal complement to a cardiovascular program such as walking, cycling, and kickboxing.