The Pilates Method is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Pilates called his method Contrology, which refers to the way his method encourages the use of the mind to control the muscles. His program focuses on the core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath, alignment of the spine, and strengthens deep torso muscles, which are important to help alleviate and prevent back pain.
Pilates believed that mental health and physical health were essential to one another. He created a method of total body conditioning that emphasizes seven principles (the Pilates Principles). Pilates believed that following these principles resulted in increased flexibility, strength, body awareness, energy, and improved mental concentration. His 7 principles include:
- Proper alignment
- Breathing, and
- Flowing movement.
To this date, Pilates is an extremely popular form of fitness conditioning for women. Classes are readily available, and it is fairly economical because all that is needed is a mat. In addition, there are a variety of Pilates resources available, which include books, DVDs, and online guides to Pilates. There are numerous other reasons to take Pilates, some which include the fact that:
- Pilates is designed to be a complete physical fitness discipline and a holistic approach to exercising to maintain optimal mobility and agility with age. Once mastered, Pilates trains, strengthens and realigns the entire body.
- It promotes relaxation, complete body control, coordination, increased energy levels, and improved posture.
- It restores abdominal, back and hip strength in a way that is safe for your spine.
- It generates muscle tones, instead of superficial bulk.
- It is versatile and can be adapted to your individual needs, whether they be to improve general everyday movement, to strengthen the build and flexibility of a dancer, or to improve performance in professional athletics.