Pilates is a method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen and balance the body. As a form of movement-based exercise, Pilates is suitable for all fitness levels.
Practiced regularly, Pilates yields numerous benefits. Increased lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing is a primary focus. Strength and flexibility, particularly of the abdomen and back muscles, is improved with an effective Pilates program. Posture and balance are enhanced; bone density and joint health are strengthened.
Joseph Pilates, the inventor of the Pilates exercise method, began teaching the Pilates concepts and exercises during 1914 while under internment with other German nationals in England during WWI. His exercises were developed over years of study and apprenticeship in yoga, Chinese martial arts, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens.
Joseph Pilates designed his program around principles based on flowing movements, breathing, control, concentration, and precision. His original system of exercises, known today as “matwork,” consists of varied floor exercise routines.
Although originally used to rehabilitate immobilized patients during WWI, Pilates has been a preferred form of exercise for gymnasts and dancers for many decades. To tone and strengthen the body, Pilates uses controlled movements with equipment, as well as mat exercises.
Pilates improves endurance and coordination without increasing muscle bulk. As a body conditioning routine, Pilates aids in sculpting the body while strengthening the body’s core. Although there are two forms of Pilates exercise, mat and equipment-based, most individuals train in mat exercises. Pilates floor routines are designed to use the body’s own weight as resistance in order to tone and strengthen the body.
Pilates mat exercises progress in a sequence, one exercise following the next, beginning with basic exercises which lead into additional, more advanced positions.
Keep these tips in mind to enhance your Pilates workout:
∑ Focus on your breathing rhythm. By focusing on your breathing rhythm and coordinating it with your body movements the mind-body connection is strengthened, which can aid in stress reduction.
∑ Dress comfortably. Wearing comfortable clothes (good choices are exercise tights, shorts, T-shirts, and tank tops) ensures that you will be able to progress through practice without constraint.
∑ Develop an exercise method that emphasizes flow. Pilates exercise movements are designed to be performed slowly, which aids in increasing flexibility and body strength. When you practice, focus on flowing through the exercise positions and avoid quick, jerky movements.
Pilates increases support for the spine by strengthening the core postural muscles. These core muscles aid in alignment of the spine and help keep the body balanced. Practiced regularly, Pilates can create a toned body, improve agility, increase joint mobility, and contribute to health maintenance.
For more information about Pilates for health and wellness call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500. Aug 30.