Pilates is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Pilates was formed by Joe during the First World War with the intention to improve the rehabilitation programme for casualties. During this period, Pilates was designed to aid injured soldiers in regaining their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilising key muscles.
Joseph used to say: ‘When I am dead, they’ll say “He was right”. I’m fifty years ahead of my time’.
And he was.
Joe preferred fewer, more precise movements, requiring control and technique over increased repetition. He believed that mental and physical health were essential to one another, creating what is a method of total body conditioning. Pilates uses correct alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement (the Pilates principles) to establish a perfect working body from the inside out.
Pilates classes build strength, flexibility and lean muscle tone with an emphasis on lengthening the body and aligning the spine, rather than on bulking and shortening the muscles.
Pilates has a focus on the core which can basically be thought of as the ‘powerhouse’ of your body. Your core is the area between your shoulders and your pelvis (without your arms and legs) and encompasses all the muscles within this area. The essential intrinsic core muscles are your Transverse Abdominus, Pelvic Floor and Multifidus muscles which we learn to train as part of the Pilates method.
Because of its core focus, Pilates is popular not only in the field of fitness, but also in rehabilitation. It can be used to progress individuals through movements that represent their day-to-day activities. The focus on strengthening the core and improving postural awareness are especially well indicated for the alleviation and prevention of back, neck and joint pain.
What are the benefits?
The benefits that Pilates will provide you are endless and we really could chew your ear off for a good few days but in the interest of saving you time and sanity, here are some of the broader benefits for you to get excited about.
During Pilates movements, the focus on strengthening and lengthening the muscles at the same time produces long, lean, strong overall muscle tone that doesn’t create bulk. These results are unlike any other type of exercise, so if you feel like you have already tried everything to get the body you want without success, our Pilates will astound you.
You can expect overall slimming, greatly improved flexibility and increased mobility, even in just a short space of time. Alignment and postural correction will have you holding yourself differently, standing taller, sitting straighter and moving with better balance and coordination.
You will feel an inner strength and heightened body awareness as you become in tune with the subtleties of your individual needs. This newfound enlightenment will empower you to be able to train yourself with the best possible efficiency, using your time most effectively.
It’s a time out just for you and a fantastic stress relief. Not in the sense of ‘ohm’ meditation style as this isn’t what Pilates in about, but the mind and body connection that you will maintain during your Pilates practice will nudge out all external stresses and the time always flies by.
Pilates isn’t the type of workout where you leave feeling tired and disheveled. Instead you will leave with increased energy levels, a clear, focused mindset and a body that feels strong and in control having been through a challenging workout.
Pilates gives you positive systemic effects on all of your body systems, stimulating and eliminating toxins and waste. You will find improvement to your digestion system including an increased metabolic rate as well as a constant booster to your immune system. We always marvel at the fact that the PFI team rarely gets sick.
Ok, wrapping up now we promise! Pilates also provides many more specific benefits for differing populations including improvement to pelvic floor function, bone density improvement and lung capacity/breathing technique improvement amongst many others.
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