What is pilates?
Pilates is pronounced "puh-lat-eze". It is a system of exercise created by Joseph H. Pilates in the early part of the 1920's. In 1923, German-born Joseph H. Pilates brought his unique method of physical and mental conditioning to the United States. His study of yoga and martial arts led to the development of Pilates.
What are the benefits of pilates?
longer, leaner muscles (less bulk, more freedom of movement)
improves postural problems
increases core strength/stability and peripheral mobility
helps prevent injury
enhances functional fitness, ease of movement
balances strength & flexibility
heightens body awareness
no-impact - easy on the joints
can be customized for everyone from rehab patients to elite athletes
complements other methods of exercise
improves performance in sports (golf, skiing, skating, dance, etc.)
improves balance, coordination & circulation
Is pilates like yoga?
In some respects pilates conditioning is like yoga. Both are considered mind-body type methods of movement; both emphasize deep breathing and smooth, long movements that encourage your muscles to relax and lengthen. The difference is that while yoga requires moving from one static posture to the next without repetitions, pilates flows through a series of movements that are more dynamic, systematic and anatomically based. The goal with pilates exercises is to achieve optimal functional fitness.
How is pilates different or better than weight training or other resistance exercise?
pilates is three-dimensional (i.e. exercises can be performed using all movement planes)
emphasis on concentric/eccentric contraction for injury prevention
pilates can be customized for special needs
emphasis is placed on rebalancing muscles around the joints
pilates corrects over-training and muscle imbalance that leads to injury
pilates emphasizes balancing strength with flexibility
pilates leads to an improvement in posture and body awareness.
What kind of results can I expect to see from doing pilates?
You can expect an increase in flexibility, mobility, balance, and body awareness, as well as a decrease in back pain and other general pains. Also, certain types of pilates are very effective for weight loss and weight maintenance.
How long will I have to do the workout before I see results?
The average active person, doing 2-3 classes per week should see some results within 10-12 classes. This will vary depending on each individual and things such as the number of classes a person takes each week, whether they participate in other physical activities, and whether they have any existing injuries.
I have a bad back. Will I be able to do pilates?
Although you should always consult your physician before starting any fitness routine, a pilates workout is gentle and controlled with no sudden jarring actions. It is important to learn the variation of the exercise that will be of the most benefit to you.
If I'm doing pilates, should I still do my regular workout?
Pilates is a musculo-skeletal conditioning program. In combination with some kind of cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, aerobics, aqua fitness, etc.), it's all you need. For people who reach advanced levels, they can actually elevate their heart rate with pilates workouts.
Is it safe to do pilates during pregnancy?
The available information on pregnancy and exercise can be very confusing - even conflicting. No two women's bodies are the same, and this is especially true during pregnancy. There are workouts that are quite appropriate for some people during pregnancy and not for others. During a normal, healthy pregnancy, moderate exercise is safe for the fetus. Exercise is also said to prevent varicose veins, hemorrhoids and low back pain - not to mention boosting self esteem. The guidelines stated by the American Council on Exercise are not as hard-and-fast as they used to be. However, research suggests that no new exercise routine should be started during your first trimester. As well, you should be careful of over-exerting the abdominal muscles.