Wednesday, October 21, 2009
What is Pilates?
What is Pilates? It is an innovative system of mind-body exercise evolved from the principles of Joseph Pilates.
Pilates dramatically transforms the way your body looks, feels and performs. It builds strength without excess bulk, creating a sleek, toned body with slender thighs and a flat abdomen.
It teaches body awareness, good posture and easy, graceful movement. Pilates improves flexibility, agility and economy of motion. It can even help alleviate back pain.
Professional dancers have known the benefits of Pilates for decades. Top athletes use it for strength, flexibility, and injury prevention. Hollywood celebrities and supermodels use it to maintain beautiful physiques.
A miracle? Not really. Developed from the rehabilitation techniques of Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a safe, sensible exercise system using a floor mat or equipment, that will help you look and feel your very best. No matter what your age or condition, it will work for you.
Pilates gets your mind in tune with your body. By emphasizing proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and complete concentration on smooth, flowing movement, you become acutely aware of how your body feels, where it is in space, and how to control its movement. The quality of movement is valued over quantity of repetitions. Proper breathing is essential, and helps you execute movements with maximum power and efficiency. Last but not least, learning to breathe properly can reduce stress.
Build strength without "bulking up" - gain long, lean muscles and flexibility
Conventional workouts tend to build short, bulky muscles - the type most prone to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.
Develop a strong core - flat abdominals and a strong back
Building on the principles of Joseph Pilates, Pilates exercises develop a strong "core," or center of the body. The core consists of the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. Control of the core is achieved by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle.
Create an evenly conditioned body and prevent sports injuries
In conventional workouts, weak muscles tend to get weaker and strong muscles tend to get stronger. The result is muscular imbalance - a primary cause of injury and chronic back pain. Pilates conditions the whole body, even the ankles and feet. No muscle group is over trained or under trained. Your entire musculature is evenly balanced and conditioned, helping you enjoy daily activities and sports with greater ease and less chance of injury.
Learn efficient patterns of motion
Pilates exercises train several muscle groups at once in smooth, continuous movements. By developing proper technique, you can actually re-train your body to move in safer, more efficient patterns of motion - invaluable for injury recovery, sports performance, good posture and optimal health.
Be confident and safe
No other exercise system is so gentle to your body while giving it a challenging workout. Many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight bearing. Pilates is so safe, it is used in physical therapy facilities to rehabilitate injuries.
Pilates is also an extremely flexible exercise system. Modifications to the exercises allow for a range of difficulty ranging from beginning to advanced. Get the workout that best suits you now, and increase the intensity as your body conditioning improves.
it is very much true that pilates is extremely flexible exercise system, because i am not just a yoga lover and a pilates lover too, true enough after months of doing pilates in only 5-10 mins a day, my muscles are toned and my back pain relieves.
Respect your body's limitations and inner wisdom, if something feels wrong or dangerous, please do not do it.
Please consult your health care practitioner before starting a yoga, pranayama or other exercise program.