What is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of “exercise’ developed by Joseph Pilates (1880-1967). Born in Dusseldorf, he was a frail, sickly child suffering from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. Determined to overcome his fragile health he experimented with a many different exercises and came up with his own method. It combines many different disciplines including yoga, gymnastics, dance, self defence, circus training and weight training. What he ended up with was a system which combines strength and flexibility.
Joseph transformed his own body and began teaching others. He was training detectives at Scotland Yard when war broke out and he was interned because of his nationality. He helped in the infirmary and developed more techniques to help fellow internee’s. Many of these had dreadful injuries which resulted in amputation, and much of his rehabilitation knowledge comes from the time he spent here. Joseph emigrated to America and he and his wife, Clara, set up a studio in New York which attracted top ballet dancers, actors, gymnasts and athletes.
He never set up a teaching program as such but many of his pupils went on to teach their own versions and in the UK, Body Control Pilates was set up and is still one of the main teaching bodies here.
The Pilates method concentrates on the ‘core’ postural muscles in the body. These are the ones necessary to achieve stability in the torso. The ‘core’ consists of deep abdominal and spinal muscles that work in a integrated way to stabilise the whole body. It works on strengthening weak muscles, lengthening short/tight muscles and helps increase mobility in the joints. The movements are slow and controlled, without strain, but in good body alignment.
In addition to the benefit of a stronger core is an improved posture, the simple concept of safer and more efficient movement, which you can then take from class out into your everyday life.
Pilates also has been shown to improve pelvic control by strengthening the deep abdominal and spinal muscles. This improved control and strength can help reduce the stresses and strains on the spine that often lead to long tern back problems. It can also help you stretch while strengthening to improve muscle elasticity and joint mobility. This increased flexibility can also help combat the possibility of injury.
The exercises can be broken down into simpler movements for beginners or added to for increased work for the more stable body.
To find out more about Pilates, to book an assessment or to book a class please get in touch today.
Re-align – Re-shape- Repair