Pilates

Pilates

What is Pilates?

Pilates or Physical Mind method, is a series of nonimpact exercises designed by Joseph Pilates to develop strength, flexibility, balance, and inner awareness.

Purpose

Pilates is a form of strength and flexibility training that can be done by someone at any level of fitness. The exercises can also be adapted for people who have limited movement or who use wheel chairs. It is an engaging exercise program that people want to do. Pilates promotes a feeling of physical and mental well-being and also develops inner physical awareness. Since this method strengthens and lengthens the muscles without creating bulk, it is particularly beneficial for dancers and actors. Pilates is also helpful in preventing and rehabilitating from injuries, improving posture, and increasing flexibility, circulation, and balance. Pregnant women who do these exercises can develop body alignment, improve concentration, and develop body shape and tone after pregnancy.

According to Joseph Pilates, "You will feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions and have a completely new body in 30 sessions.”

Although Pilates is often associated with dancers, athletes, and younger people in general who are interested in improving their physical strength and flexibility, a simplified version of some Pilates exercises is also being used as of 2003 to lower the risk of hospital-related deconditioning in older adults. A Canadian study of hospitalized patients over the age of 70 found that those who were given a set of Pilates exercises that could be performed in bed recovered more rapidly than a control group given a set of passive range-of-motion exercises.

Classical Pilates

There are over 500 exercises that were developed by Joseph Pilates. "Classical" exercises, according to the Pilates Studio in New York involve several principles. These include concentration, centering, flowing movement, and breath. Some instructors teach only the classical exercises originally taught by Joseph Pilates. Others design new exercises that are variations upon these classical forms in order to make the exercises more accessible for a specific person. Many of these exercises may be done on a mat, and you will usually find these classes listed as “Mat Pilates”.

Pilates Machines

There are two primary exercise machines used for Pilates, the Universal Reformer and the Cadillac, and several smaller pieces of equipment. At The Edge-Your Fitness Advantage, we utilize the Reformer in private and group classes. The Reformer resembles a single bed frame and is equipped with a carriage that slides back and forth and adjustable springs that are used to regulate tension and resistance. Cables, bars, straps, and pulleys allow the exercises to be done from a variety of positions. Sara and Tracy will work with their clients on the machines observing and giving feedback about alignment, breathing, and precision of movement. The exercises are done slowly and carefully so that the movements are smooth and flowing. This requires focused concentration and muscle control. The session ends with light stretching and a cool-down period.