Build Core Strength With Pilates
Pilates is a refreshing mind and body workout, and is great for core strength.
It is gentle and flexible, so people from all ages and fitness levels can join. At the same time, you can increase the intensity of the workout as your strength increases.
At the gym or in the comfort of your own home, it has never been easier to train the mind and body at your own pace to achieve optimum health.
The History Of Pilates
Pilates, or contrology, was developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. It is said his parents owned a gym and his mother was a keen naturopath.
Joseph was a skinny child who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. As a result, he was regularly bullied at school.
That’s when he decided to teach himself self-defence. He studied anatomy books as well as Eastern and Western types of exercises including yoga, martial arts and gymnastics.
He was a model in his teens and later became an accomplished skier, diver and boxer.
When he moved to England in 1912, he taught self-defence to detectives in Scotland Yard until he was interned for being a German national during the First World War.
That’s when he further developed his ideas and trained other inmates and helped patients rehabilitate. Surprisingly, the influenza epidemic did not affect any of his fellow inmates nor patients.
After his release at the end of the war, he returned to Germany but when he was asked to teach martial arts to the German army he decided to migrate to the United States around 1926.
He met his future wife, Clara, on the journey and they decided to open a fitness studio in New York. The started teaching Pilates to young dancers as they shared a building with the New York City Ballet.
Several of his students started teaching Pilates themselves and opened their own studio.
Joseph wrote two books titled ‘Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising that Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Eduction’ (1934) and ‘Pilates Return To Life Through Contrology’ (1945)
He died in 1967 and Pilates started becoming extremely popular amongst the socialites and celebrities alike in the 1980s.
Benefits Of Pilates
In Pilates, quality is more important than quantity. People from all ages and fitness levels can participate.
It is extremely safe as most of the exercises are low impact and performed in reclining or sitting positions.
It is a gentle exercise and for this reason is ideal for patients in rehabilitation and those who need to improve their posture.
But it could also be quite challenging as you can increase the intensity of your workout depending on your fitness level.
Pilates includes a unique series of around five hundred life enhancing physical exercises inspired by yoga, ballet and calisthenics to correct muscular imbalances, improve posture, coordination, balance, strength, flexibility and increase breathing capacity and organ function.
By learning how to control your body’s movement with breathing and adequate spinal and pelvic alignment, these exercises can be an awesome stress relief.
You can develop a strong core and strong back muscles which will definitely improve your posture.
Exercises like weight lifting tend to build short, bulky muscles. Pilates, on the other hand, will help you build lean and strong long muscles.
As you muscle elasticity improves, so does your flexibility and joint mobility.
You will also exercise and tone every muscle in your body. This results in an evenly conditioned body so you will be less prone to injury thus improving your sports performance.
How To Get Started With Pilates
With Pilates, it not so much the question of how but where to get started.
This will entirely depend on the reason why you want to start Pilates and what you want out of it. Also budget and schedule are relevant.
If you like to learn as part of a group to stay motivated and focused, then you should seek the friendship and discipline of scheduled group classes at your local Pilates studio or health and fitness club as well as recreation centres.
You may prefer to work out in the comfort of your own home and in your own time as it offers maximum flexibility especially if you find it hard to stick to a tight schedule.
There are many online video and DVD’s available for this. However, in order to get started, it is advised that you follow one or two classes at your nearest club.
If you are looking for an intensive exercise session customised to your needs, and you have the budget, then why not consider a one-on-one personal Pilates training routine.
Pilates is also the perfect way to get back into fitness after an injury or if you suffer from chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, scoliosis or if you are recovering for a hip or knee replacement.
Wellness centres and rehabilitation clinics can offer such classes.