What is Pilates?

What is Pilates? It was developed by a man named Joseph H. Pilates in the early 1900s. He was a trainer who developed the technique to help soldiers rehabilitate after injuries in the war. The basic model of his program is still being used today, along with the equipment that he invented to get the most out of the program.

Pilates is not so much about aerobics as it is about body awareness through muscle work. It is most closely related to strength training in your routine. Through a Pilates program, you can develop flexibility, strength, a toned body and more awareness of how your body is moving at any given time.

When you are watching someone in a Pilates class, it doesn’t seem like they are moving much, but the deliberate movements that they do make are changing their bodies in big ways. The program stresses use and strength in the core and proper body alignment.

If you are looking for a way to add tone to your body but don’t want to lift weights at this time, Pilates may be right for you. Each movement is slow and controlled. You are aware of your abdominal muscles and the muscles of your body that you are working at the time. Many of the moves are quite challenging to achieve and hold for a set amount of time.

As you begin to get accustomed to the movements, you will notice changes in your body mechanics during other activities. Because you are more aware of your body positioning, you will stand straighter at the sink or sit straighter at work. When you are standing, your abdominal muscles will be pulled up and in to lengthen your body and support your head and spine.

Even though Pilates is not about aerobics, you can break a sweat as you work out on the equipment. In a true Pilates' studio you will not only participate in mat work but also use one of the machines like the Wunda chair or the ladder barrel.

While Pilates does work, it is not for everyone. If you have back problems, trying to get into the various positions may cause more harm than good. Check with a doctor first before attempting Pilates to see if you have any conditions that are contraindicated for this exercise.

Pilates has been used for decades as a way of building strength throughout the body and toning without bulking up with weights. If you are looking for a way to work your body and your mind, this may be the answer.