"Rome was not built in a day and patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate success of any endeavor" –Joseph Pilates

joseph pilates

Although Pilates has largely come to the forefront of the fitness industry in the last 15 years, the form of exercise we now call Pilates is not that new at all. It was developed in the 1920's by a German named Joseph Pilates and was then called Contrology. Joseph believed that modern living was having a disastrous effect on people's health and fitness levels. He thought there was a clear connection between poor posture, sedentary lifestyles and ill health. Through the development of his own body and the study of various forms of physical conditioning including weight training, yoga and gymnastics, Joseph, combining both Eastern and Western philosophy of exercise, developed a series of exercises which has since revolutionized the fitness world. With regular practice of this unique set of strengthening and stretching exercises, the body becomes uniformly stronger and more toned, flexible and posture is improved. These are all acquired with balance, coordination and grace, body and mind connected.

the method

In the early days, Joseph mostly worked with gymnasts, dancers and athletes and therefore the original method was largely the privilege of these fitter than average people. Today, however, Pilates is widely available to everyone. Each exercise has been broken down to a series of more manageable exercises to suit all ages and fitness levels. Few people today could launch straight into the full Pilates program, therefore a refined series of exercises has been developed so that we can all enjoy the benefits of the method and work gradually towards the full classical mat. This progressive approach has won the respect and support of leading medical bodies as well as top sports associations. It is largely because of the support of these medical professions that Pilates has spread so widely in recent years. Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and physical trainers alike recognize Pilates as a safe, effective and biomechanically sound form of body conditioning. Pilates works by strengthening the core postural muscles of the body. That is, the deep layers of muscles that hold our skeleton together. In particular, the deep stabilizing muscles of the trunk which support the spine. This focus on core stability makes Pilates ideal for the prevention and treatment of back problems but the wonderful thing about the method is it can be adapted for anyone; from top athletes looking to enhance their performance, to physio referrals with chronic backs just looking to be pain free. Pilates is low impact with most exercises performed on the floor so there is minimal stress and strain on the joints. Exercises are performed in a slow and controlled fashion with the emphasis on quality rather than quantity. It is a mindful form of exercise where each movement is performed with control and with a particular breathing pattern. Concentration and control are integral to the Pilates method and it is this focus which makes it a mental workout as well as a physical one. As core stability and strength are built up, the movements gradually become more complex and challenging. The series of exercises works every muscle in the body, resulting in a well balanced, strong, flexible and pain free body.

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