What is pilates?
Pilates is a low-impact physical fitness system that aims to strengthen muscles while improving flexibility and postural alignment. It integrates muscle control, strength training, flexibility, breathing, and body awareness. It is a series of movements performed on floor mats or specifically designed exercise apparatus, that engage the body and mind, and supervised by extensively trained teachers.
Pilates was developed by physical trainer Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. The physical fitness system was created to help strengthen the human mind and body. He believed that physical and mental health were interrelated.
Pilates is based on the following principles:
- Postural alignment
Floor pilates is performed on mats and uses only a few pieces of equipment while Apparatus pilates uses various equipment specially designed for pilates such as:
- Cadillac (Trapeze Table)
- Wunda Chair
- Reformer Bed
- Spine Corrector
- Ladder Barrel
- Magic Circle
Differences between pilates and yoga
Yoga was developed with the purpose of connecting the person’s consciousness with the universal consciousness using physical activity. To sum up, its aim is not only to improve the physical health, but also the emotional and spiritual health. Pilates was originally developed for physical rehabilitation. Later on, this idea extended to gain strength, flexibility, and body awareness without building bulk.
Yoga involves meditation during the exercise while Pilates is a full mat routine that can also be performed on specific Pilates equipment like the cadillac and reformer bed.
Health benefits of pilates
The following are some benefits that can be gained from Pilates:
- Helps in forming abs and core strength
- Helps reduce back pain
- Improves backside
- Improves body posture
- Has minimal impact on the knees and joints
- Boosts mental health
- Improves focus and concentration
- Improves sports performance
- Increases flexibility
- Improves blood circulation
- Improves memory
- Gives better spinal health and strength
- Prevents the risk of future injuries
- Gives strength without the bulky muscles
- Reduces pain associated with Alzheimer’s Disease
- Benefits pregnant women by strengthening pelvic muscles and promoting efficient body mechanics
- Assists weight loss
- Helps in reducing anxiety and stress
- Boosts stamina
- Helps easier good digestion process
- Increases energy level
- Helps in cutting down body fat and lower cholesterol levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Assists with recovery from injuries
- Strengthens the immune system
- Improves breathing irregularity
- Helps alleviate headaches and migraines
- Better sleeping pattern and reduces insomnia
What to expect from a pilates session
Pilates is typically taught in a class environment or one on one. It is a 45 minute to one hour long session where body movements and breath control are continually monitored. It is required to wear comfortable attire to perform either floor or apparatus Pilates.