Pilates can benefit and make positive lasting changes in your health without taking a toll on your body. Imagine, how great would it be if you tried Pilates as a therapeutic way to remain active through an injury, prevent potential injury and help ease your pain and limitations. This could give the active and healthy lifestyle you desire now and in the future.
Take The Challenge!
With this new knowledge, I hope you will be empowered to TRY Pilates and integrate it into your health and wellness program. I think you’ll be surprised by how much better and healthier you will feel for doing so.
“Every moment of our lives can be the BEGINNING of GREAT things.”J. Pilates
History of Pilates
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. As a child he was sickly and suffered from asthma and various ailments. He turned to athletics and exercise to combat these illnesses. Joe continually was studying and integrating various exercise regimens to expand his knowledge base; including yoga, karate and forms of calisthenics. He was fixated by the Classical Greek ideal of a man balanced in body, mind and spirit, and he ultimately founded his own exercise system based on this concept he later called “Contrology.”
“Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” J. Pilates
In 1912 Joe went to England, he worked there as a self defense instructor at Scotland Yard. With WWI outbreak he became interned with other German nationals. It was here that he refined his ideas and trained other internees in his system of exercise. He constructed springs to hospital beds to allow bed ridden patients to exercise against resistance, which eventually evolved into the Reformer and Cadillac Pilates equipment. When an influenza epidemic hit in 1918, and thousands died, not a single trainee of Joe’s died. He claimed this was due to the effectiveness of his system of exercise.
Upon his release he returned to Germany and his exercise methods quickly gained support and grew in practice. He left Germany when he was approached by German officials to teach his fitness systems to the army. In 1926, Joe emigrated to the U.S., met his wife Clara and opened a fitness studio in New York. His methodology gained popularity among athletes, dancers and those with injuries.
His work was passed down through the practice and teaching of his students. Pilates has continued to flourish and evolve throughout the world even after his death at the age of 87 in 1967.
Who can do Pilates?
Pilates is NOT just for women, ballerinas or super fit people. I have utilized Pilates for a wide spectrum of individuals with successful and life changing results for each individual. Rehabilitative Pilates is excellent for those with pain and injuries. It is a safe form of exercise for pre, peri and post-natal populations. Likewise, for the athlete who needs to cross- train safely, recover from high volume training and the demands of their sports and competitions. It is especially great for with young developing bodies- Pilates is ideal to train their bodies, building a solid foundation of posture and movement patterns to keep them active and injury free. Both the supportive nature and individualized modifications of Pilates can help the aging population stay safely fit, cognitively stimulated, decrease fall risk, fractures, improve bone health, illness and depression.
“Change happens through movement and movement HEALS.” J. Pilates
An Engaging Mind-Body Workout
The emphasis on coordinating the breath, correct spine and pelvic alignment, with focus on smooth fluid movement progressions train you to become highly aware of your body. You gain awareness of body asymmetries, compensations and HOW to control your movement through movement.
The quality and precision of movement is valued over quantity of resistance or repetitions. The ability to modify movement patterns to each unique individual allows them to perform exercise sequences with ideal efficiency and results. Pilates requires a heightened state of focus and when coupled with breath, this movement form can help eliminate stress, energizing you in a state of mind-body meditation and unity.
“With body, mind and spirit FUNCTIONING PERFECTLY as a coordinated whole, what else could reasonably be expected other than an active, alert and disciplined person.” J. Pilates
Strength: A Foundation of Core And Back Unity
Pilates exercises are focused to strengthen the “powerhouse” of the body or your “core”. The core is comprised of the deep spinal(back) and abdominal layers that wrap around and protect your spine. This control of the core is accomplished by the integration of the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdles. I consider the primary core your trunk, and the secondary core to be composed of the hip and shoulders. They all depend upon the other and any imbalance will result in compensations, pain, limitations and ultimately injuries. As you will hear me say all the time, “Fortunately and unfortunately everything in the body is connected…and is up to us to make our bodies work optimally for us not against us.”
“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 session you’ll see the difference and in 30 sessions you’ll have A WHOLE NEW BODY.” J. Pilates
Flexibility With Strength
Pilates promotes stretching and flexibility with the integrity of muscular support. Unlike Yoga you are not “going for a pose”, but are moving within the body’s available, CONTROLLED and supportive range of movement. Excessive flexibility and instability of joints can cause the dangerous downward spiral toward injury. Traditional strength exercises focus on building of short bulky muscles under high impact and ballistic uncontrolled methods.
While Pilates uniquely elongates and strengthens, focusing on strengthening muscles through all phases of movement and range of motion. This safely improves muscle flexibility, joint mobility, while addressing body asymmetries and compensatory patterns. Most forms of strengthening exercise focuses on muscle flexors and only the front of the body. When actually we need to balance these dominate flexors by focusing on our back and lateral(side) stabilizing muscles, and performing lateral and circular movements. You need to train your body in how to perform the “real life movements” you require of your body everyday, sports and hobbies included.
We don’t live and move in only one plane and direction, SO why would we exercise and train in only one?
“The Pilates Method teaches you to be in CONTROL of your body and not at its mercy.” J. Pilates
Balance & Movement Efficiency
Pilates focuses on training several muscle groups in smooth continuous movement patterns and mirror the functional movements we perform daily. By the practice and execution of proper form, you can retrain your body to move more efficiently and safer. The brain-body challenge prevents performance plateaus and can help PREVENT FALLS. This is critical for injury prevention and recovery, sports performance, good posture, energy, optimal health and enthusiasm for life.
“A few well designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence are WORTH hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.” J. Pilates
Balanced Body Conditioning, Sports Performance & Prevention Of Illness & Injury
Traditional workouts are targeted to work out the same muscles in the same movement patterns and planes. This can perpetuate strong muscles getting stronger and the weakening of weaker muscles, causing imbalance, injury and often back pain.
Pilates focuses and conditions your body head to toe, it is the integration and operation of the body that prevents under or over training. This produces a balanced body that is optimally conditioned to facilitate great ease with daily activities, ward off illness or injury, and execute superior sport and activity performance. This is why so many professional sports teams, athletes and rehabilitative experts use Pilates in their training and recovery.
“Not only is health a normal condition, but it is our DUTY not only to attain it but to maintain it.” J. Pilates
Gentle & Challenging
Typically the same principle core Pilates exercises are performed either in a mat or equipment practice setting. Either mode is highly beneficial, compliments and enhances the other. The exercises are typically performed in a reclined, sitting or supportive position without high impact or uncontrolled movements. This is why Pilates exercises are used in Physical Therapy to help rehabilitative injuries both acute and chronic.
Since it is such a flexible and adaptable system, Pilates modifications can adjust the difficulty or challenge to avoid boredom and burnout. The better you get the more challenging it becomes- even in the simplest movement patterns, because you are more focused and moving more efficiently can be incredibly challenging. Due to its safety and versatility it can be performed by any age, stage and even daily, and SHOULD BE!
“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are OLD. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are YOUNG.” J. Pilates
So what is the next best step for you?…
Are you finding yourself unsure IF Pilates is for you or where to start? You are NOT alone.
Most people experience dissatisfaction with their fitness routines, pain or discomfort throughout their life. The problem is that most of them do not know where to turn, and fall into the trap of activity decline and injure.
I hope this information has given you the information you need to make a decision about what to do next to become stronger, more flexible, mobile, stable and full of life and energy and take action.
We can only be as strong as our body and joints have the ability and range to smoothly move. Whenever there is the opportunity to move so freely it needs to be balanced with stability. Which is why abdominal, back and hip stabilizing exercises are so important. The muscles of the abs and back I consider your “primary” core and the muscles of your hips and pelvis are your “secondary” core. When they work together and are balanced in strength and flexibility you will discover the KEY to health and a pain- free unrestricted life.
A low impact, controlled form of exercise that can support and promote proper posture and alignment of your spine, hips and pelvis like Pilates is the BEST! This is why we utilize this method with our clients to prevent or find freedom from pain, injury, having to slow down and miss out on the active life they love.
Simply start and try Pilates in one of FREE Pilates Taster Sessions, either in-person or online. You can start with a complimentary 30 min Private Pilates Session or a 30 minute Pilates Group Class. While you wait to speak with a Pilates Expert or take you first class try a few of our FREE videos to learn more about the Pilates Principles, Basics, what to expect and take a few FREE classes from the comfort of your home or office.
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