Pilates

  • Description
  • Background
  • Theory
  • Research

Pilates is a type of exercise designed to stretch, strengthen and balance the body. It is a full-body system of specific exercises that focus on the core postural muscles (abdomen and back) that help keep the body balanced. Pilates is based on the concepts of awareness, balance, breathing, mental focus, control, flowing movement, and precision. The principle of Pilates is to uniformly develop the body and mind. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of neutral alignment of the spine and strengthening the deep postural muscles that support this alignment, which are important to help alleviate and prevent back pain.

 

Mat exercises primarily focus on strengthening the muscles of the trunk and hip and increasing the flexibility of both the spine and hips. While the scope of the mat program is limited compared to the exercises that use the equipment, there are many mat exercises that illustrate the Pilates principles. Individual lessons often use the unique Pilates equipment, which aids in creating resistance.

 

Reformer: The principal piece of equipment is called the reformer and consists of a sliding platform anchored at one end of its frame with springs. Pulling on ropes or pushing off from a stationary bar moves the platform. Exercises with this machine require the individual to maintain balance on a moving surface.

 

Cadillac: The cadillac consists of a padded platform.

In the early 1900s, Joseph Pilates was an apprentice of yoga, Zen and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens, and developed the system of exercises typically used in Pilates today. Initially professional dancers, who appreciated improved strength, balance and flexibility, primarily used the Pilates exercise program.

 

Later, resistance springs were incorporated into rehabilitation programs for hospitalised patients. The springs were later transformed into unique Pilates equipment.

 

In the 1980s Pilates was rediscovered, and it is now a popular form of exercise. Pilates is often practiced in group mat classes (without equipment), or private or semi-private sessions with or without specially designed equipment.

Research shows that if practiced consistently, Pilates increases strength, length and flexibility of muscles, particularly of the abdomen and back muscles. Preliminary research suggests that Pilates may help treat obesity, reduce low back pain, and help with spine alignment.

 

Experts claim that it will take six to eight weeks to see changes in physical appearance.

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