Pilates

What is Pilates

Pilates is a safe and effective exercise system designed to strengthen the body by targeting and improving the function of weaker muscle groups. It emphasizes techniques for strengthening the muscles of the core to support the spine and thereby improve posture and form.

The Pilates repertoire enhance overall flexibility, strength and fitness whilst improving coordination and balance. It is fun, effective and suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

What to expect

  • Your body becomes firmer and sleeker, with improved contours and a longer, leaner look.
  • As your posture improves, you will feel and look taller, and you may regain lost height as your spine is encouraged to lengthen to its natural height.
  • You can move more easily, increasing range of motion at your joints and overall flexibility.
  • Physical and mental strength and endurance will increase, making it ideal for people under stress or recovering from injuries. As relaxation is promoted, participants enjoy a sense of calm after a session. The mind becomes the master of the body, increasing self-esteem and coordination.
  • Back pain and weakness are reduced as you strengthen the core muscles and stretch shortened muscles. This results in a re-balancing and re-aligning of the body, both improving posture and reducing risk of injuries.
  • Muscle flexibility, joint mobility, coordination and balance all improve steadily. Stronger, longer muscles are developed as opposed to bulk

Principles of Pilates

Concentration – You must pay attention to your movements as you are doing them. Stay focused and move mindfully. Visualize your next step, as this will actually help your nervous system choose the best combination of muscles to perform the movement. When your mind and body operate as a team, you will have a much more productive and rewarding exercise session.

Control – All movements must be performed with control, originating from the mind. Motion and activity without control leads to haphazard and counter-productive exercises with a heightened risk of injury.

Centering –  The human body has a physical center from which all motion proceeds, which Joseph Pilates termed the “Powerhouse”. The muscles involved are the abdominals, lower back, and buttocks, which support the spine, protect the internal organs and maintain sound posture. Centering, and the correct use of core muscles, promotes a trimmer waist, flatter stomach and improved posture.

Flowing Movement –  The exercises take you through a wide range of motion in a controlled and flowing manner. Concentrate on moving smoothly and avoid stiff or jerky movements. If you feel any strain or discomfort, proceed to the next exercise or take a stretch break.

Precision –  It is important that all the movements are coordinated and performed with precision. It takes time and patience to learn the steps to each exercise, but, as you do, you will be able to command control of your body and improve coordination.

Breathing –  Most of us do not breathe properly and use only a fraction of our lung capacity. It is vital to learn how to breathe fully to improve the circulation, causing the cells of your body to be stimulated and carry away the waste products that are related to fatigue and muscle soreness. Proper breathing can relax the body and mind and also greatly assists in flexion and extension of the spine. Incorrect breathing can interfere with effective abdominal muscle contractions and even create a potbelly! Your overall health relies on the efficiency of your breathing.

Benefits of Pilates

A list of benefits of regular participation in a Pilates based fitness program

  • Your body becomes firmer and sleeker, with improved contours and a longer, leaner look. As your posture improves, you will feel and look taller, and you may regain lost height as your spine is encouraged to lengthen to its natural height.
  • You can move more easily, increasing range of motion at your joints and overall flexibility.
  • Physical and mental strength and endurance will increase, making it ideal for people under stress or recovering from injuries. As relaxation is promoted, participants enjoy a sense of calm after a session.
  • The mind becomes the master of the body, increasing self-esteem and coordination.
  • Back pain and weakness are reduced as you strengthen the core muscles and stretch shortened muscles. This results in a re-balancing and re-aligning of the body, both improving posture and reducing risk of injuries.
  • Muscle flexibility, joint mobility, coordination and balance all improve steadily.
  • Stronger, longer muscles are developed as opposed to bulk.

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