What is Pilates?
Pilates (pronounced puh-lah-teez and not pie-lates) is a method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. With systematic practice of specific exercises coupled with focused breathing patterns, Pilates has proven itself invaluable not only as a fitness endeavour, but also as an important adjunct to professional sports training and physical rehabilitation of all kinds.
Pilates classes are most commonly delivered in three formats – group Mat classes, group Reformer classes, and private or small group studio classes where the client works on the full range of apparatus Pilates invented, such as the Reformer, Trapeze Table, Ladder Barrel, Wunda Chair or Spine Corrector.
What can Pilates do for you?
Pilates improves flexibility and increases muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks. Pilates exercises balance muscular strength on both sides of your body, enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs and improve the stabilization of your spine which improves your posture and balance.
Pilates is excellent as rehabilitation or for prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances, joint issues and spinal injuries/issues. Pilates improves physical coordination and balance. Pilates improves concentration, increases body awareness and is great as stress management and for relaxation.
Pilates is suitable for everyone.
Pilates is for everybody, from beginner to advanced. You can perform exercises using your own body weight, or with the help of various pieces of small equipment.
A typical Pilates workout includes a number of exercises and stretches. Each exercise is performed with attention to proper breathing techniques and abdominal muscle control. To gain the maximum benefit, you should do Pilates at least two or three times per week. You may notice postural improvements after 10 to 20 sessions.
Pilates and challenging your body.
Pilates is based on putting yourself into unstable postures and challenging your body by moving your limbs. Using unstable pieces of equipment such as fitness balls, foam rollers etc, Pilates challenges your stability and works your deep stabilizing muscles. You need tight abdominal and buttock muscles to keep your hips square, and focused attention to stop yourself from tipping over.