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An introduction to Pilates

Pilates is a method of exercise that consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular-strengthening activity and endurance movements.

Pilates emphasises correct postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance. It challenges your muscles in new ways by working muscle groups that do not usually get much attention.

Pilates is named after its creator, Joseph Pilates, who developed the exercises in the 1920s for the purpose of rehabilitation. He evolved his work from a background in bodybuilding, yoga, wrestling, boxing, gymnastics, and martial arts. Self-educated in anatomy, he became a nurse-physiotherapist during World War I, during which he rigged bedsprings to provide supported movement exercises to the sick and injured, making some of the first people treated by Pilates to be soldiers returning from war, as well as professional dancers, to strengthen their bodies and heal their aches and pains.

There are several different types of Pilates, although each of them is typically geared toward achieving the same goals in improving spinal cord flexibility and core strength, providing overall physical balance and health. Practicing Pilates has a wide range of benefits, including relieving chronic pain and being rehabilitative in preventing injuries, as well as helping to maintain a healthy body weight, therefore popular with athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Classes can vary in intensity and something to offer all ages, fitness ability and those with medical difficulties. They can be gentle providing the body with light stretching on its own, before and after other forms of exercise, or more dynamic to offer a full workout. Pilates exercises are done on a mat or can be achieved using equipment, such as apparatus with pulleys, springs, straps, and handles for resistance support.

For optimal results, frequent Pilates sessions during the week would be most beneficial and should be supported with a healthy diet and aerobic exercise such as running, walking, cycling, and swimming.

Pilates V Yoga…

There are many similarities between Pilates and Yoga, so to understand one of the main differences between yoga and Pilates is that yoga can be used for improving the flexibility of the body and joints and deepen meditation practice, and Pilates focuses on trying to relax yet strengthen tense muscles and better for recovering after injury, improving posture, and for core strength. 

Why not get started with some daily mat time whilst you are spending more time at home, by searching for an instructor and sessions available on YouTube, that suit your ability and needs.