Monday, 4 November 2013

What is Pilates and its Health Benefits

Pilates is said to be favoured by celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Cameron Diaz, Hugh Grant and the late Patrick Swayze.  Even the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is said to have used Pilates to help her snap back into shape after the birth of baby Prince George.  So what is it about Pilates that they love so much and how does it help with health and fitness?

What Pilates Is

Pilates is a gentle low-impact form of exercising, consisting of a series of exercises that focuses on strengthening and stretching the entire body, with particular emphasis on aligning the spine and pelvis, and developing a strong core.  The idea behind Pilates is to help improve the body’s overall balance, co-ordination, flexibility, and posture, as well as strengthening muscles.

Pilates is suitable for people of all ages and levels of fitness.

Pilates exercises focuses on slow precise movements, including breathing, to help target specific areas of the body.

Joseph Pilates, who developed the system, believed in strengthening both the mind and body, with the idea that mental and physical health are inter-related.  Being mentally aware of how your body moves is of great importance when performing Pilates.

The 6 main principles behind Pilates are:
  • Concentration
  • Control
  • Centering
  • Flow and efficiency of movement
  • Precision
  • Breathing

There are two different types of Pilates:
  • Pilates with apparatus
  • Pilates on mats

What is Pilates and its health benefits. Pilates apparatus, Stamina AeroPilates Reformer helps to strengthen and stretch body and align the spine. For back, joint, muscle pain, flat stomach
Pilates with Apparatus,
>>Click here for more info on the 
Stamina AeroPilates Reformer<<
What is Pilates and its health benefits. PIlates at home on mats following a DVD workout to help strengthen and stretch the body, align the spine. Helps with back, joint, muscle pain, flat stomach.
Pilates on mats,
>>Click here for more info on the 
DVD Pilates<<

Pilates with apparatus was originally designed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century to help injured soldiers, and enabled people with more specific medical conditions to exercise with specialised equipment, with the exercises being more tailored to each person’s specific needs.

Later on, Joseph Pilates developed the mat exercises which helped people to exercise at home.  Pilates exercises on mats could also include the use of small apparatus such as gym balls and stretch bands.

The Health Benefits of Pilates

The health benefits of Pilates are numerous, including:
  • Improved muscle tone and strength
  • Improved posture
  • Greater flexibility
  • Greater mobility
  • Being able to move with more grace and ease
  • Helps with balance and co-ordination
  • Relief from lower back pain
  • Relief from stress and tension
  • Help with weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and some cardiovascular exercises
  • The feeling of being taller and leaner
  • Helps with injury rehabilitation

Being a form of low-impact exercise, Pilates is an ideal way of exercising for people who are not used to physical activity or for those people who are recovering from injuries, aches and pains.

Pilates can be performed at home or by attending classes, or a combination of the two.

If you choose to attend a Pilates Class, find a teacher who is qualified to tailor the routines suitable for your level of fitness and your particular needs.  It is advisable to consult your doctor or health care professional before undertaking any new exercise regime.

N.B.  It's always advisable to consult your doctor or health care professional before undertaking any new exercise regime.

See also Health & Fitness Benefits of Low-Impact Exercise

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