Demystifying Pilates: Uncovering the Facts

Have you ever wondered what the secret is behind the enviable figures of celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens, Miley Cyrus, and Madonna? If you answered Pilates, then you’re right!

While it has become a fitness buzzword and has gained a cult following over the years, many still ask themselves what is Pilates and what’s in it for them.

What is Pilates?

Pilates (pronounced pih-la-tease and not pie-lates) is a revolutionary and safe system of mind-body exercise designed to dramatically change how your body performs, feels, and looks.

This innovative system evolved from the principles first developed and introduced by Joseph Pilates. Sensible and safe, this exercise system promotes good posture, body awareness, and fluid and graceful movements.

If you are in the lookout for an exercise routine designed to enhance your agility and flexibility, increase your muscular endurance, and effectively improve your posture, coordination, and balance, Pilates is your consummate choice.

German-born Joseph Pilates believed that physical and mental health should work hand in hand. Influenced by Greco-Roman wrestling, gymnastics, boxing, and other forms of exercises from the West, Pilates was known as contrology for several decades before it was named Pilates.

Demystifying Pilates

What are the some of the health benefits of Pilates?

Practitioners can attest that regular Pilates sessions can dramatically tone the muscle, improve balance, posture, and joint mobility, and provide needed relief from tension and stress. For dancers and athletes, Pilates is the perfect exercise method to complement their training as it not only promotes flexibility and strength, it also minimizes injury risks.

Can Pilates help you shed the excess pounds?

Since it is classed as a muscle strengthening exercise, Pilates can definitely help you lose the excess weight. However, to hasten the results, it is recommended that you combine your Pilates sessions with a healthy diet and varied aerobic activities such as cycling, walking, and swimming.

How is Pilates different from yoga?

While yoga and Pilates are good at developing flexibility, strength, balance, and posture, the methods employed are different. Also, while both systems bank on the connection between the mind and the body, yoga places more emphasis on meditation and relaxation. In addition, yoga often only requires the use of mats. Pilates on the other hand makes use of both mats and apparatus. Finally, while Pilates is characterized by flow of movement, yoga is often associated with static poses.

Can Pilates help alleviate back pains?

Pilates can provide the much needed pain relief for those people suffering from non-specific lower back pains. Apparatus used in Pilates makes it possible for practitioners to carry out the exercise with the much needed support. However, to get the maximum benefit from the practice, exercises must be tailored for the individual and recommended by a competent health professional.

How is mat work different from the use of apparatus?

Joseph Pilates created more than 500 exercises, 34 of which are performed using mats. Mat exercises may also need other traditional equipment like hand weights and magic circles. You may also have to make use of other non-Pilates gear such as foam rollers, gym balls, and stretch bands. Pilates using apparatus on the other hand employs equipment designed by Joseph Pilates himself like spine corrector, ladder barrel, cadillac, wunda chair, and the reformer.

Is Pilates for You?

Flexible and innovative, Pilates is beneficial for almost everyone, from the cautious beginner to the seasoned athlete. However, to play safe, it is advisable to seek the advice of a health professional or a visit a trusted Pilates studio first for proper assessment and advice.

If you wish to enhance the mind-body connection and get a leaner, stronger, and sexier body, there is no doubt Pilates can be your trusted ally. While there are other factors that need to be taken into account to get the results you desire, enrolling in a Pilates class is a huge step in the right direction.

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