Health Benefits of Pilates

Posted September 21, 2007 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Holistic Medicine

The Pilates Method is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Pilates is a total conditioning program that develops “core” muscles in the stomach and back. By developing core strength, the rest of the body moves fully and gracefully without resistance or tension. It’s also a mind-body fitness program that emphasizes proper breathing aligned with precise movements.

Torso stability and core strength, along with six Pilates principles, differentiate the Pilates method from other forms of exercise. The six principles (centering, control, flow, breath, precision, and concentration) are essential ingredients of the Pilates workout. Pilates focuses on the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility and awareness to support efficient movement and posture. Mat-based Pilates, the most popular form, is a series of exercises performed on the floor using body weight as resistance. The central aim is to condition the supporting muscles to improve coordination.

Benefits of regular Pilates practice include: improved body alignment, balance and posture, enhanced body awareness, increased flexibility, increased lung capacity and circulation, increased muscle strength, reduced back pain, and increased range of motion. Joint health and bone density improve, as well as positive body awareness. In addition to fitness and health benefits, regular practice is effective in injury prevention and physical rehabilitation work. General practitioners, osteopaths and physiotherapists recommend Pilates as one of the safest forms of exercise.

By strengthening the core torso muscles, back pain is alleviated and preventable. Physical energy exerted from the center aids in coordinating movement. In particular, Pilates teaches awareness of breath and alignment of the spine. Combining Pilates with aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, can improve overall body fitness and endurance.

For information about complementary and alternative therapies for health conditions and wellness call Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.

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