How is Pilates different?
Pilates is invaluable not only as an overall fitness program, but also as an important addition to professional sports training and physical rehabilitation of all kinds. With literally hundreds of exercises, Pilates lends itself to all fitness levels, from post-rehabilitation to exercise novices, to the elite athlete.
Lasting results are achieved through the use of proper form, combined with the mechanics of the equipment and total concentration of the participant. The exercises are performed on a mat and/or spring driven machines. In all cases, each movement is flowing, centered and performed with control.
Unlike many other forms of exercise, Pilates does not emphasize multiple repetitions or duration. Instead, the goal is to create a balanced body; one which is agile and structurally sound. Top athletes use Pilates training to improve their performance, as well as enhancing their rehabilitation from injury.
Who can practice Pilates?
Pilates can be practiced by anyone, from beginners to elite athletes. Everyone can use Pilates to improve their posture, breathing, and alignment. In addition, the mind as well as the body will greatly benefit: you’ll feel stronger “from the inside out.”
The Pilates method works for everyone, regardless of fitness level. Exercises, which are both mat and machine-based, can be executed by beginners as well as advanced students. Adaptations can be made to accommodate all levels of movement, flexibility and experience. Pilates enthusiasts also include pregnant women (both pre- and post-natal training), the elderly, and those returning to exercise after years of inactivity. As you can see from the photo above, there are Pilates students of all ages!
Models and actors have used the Pilates method for many years, even going back to the days of Gregory Peck and Katherine Hepburn. Today, it is practiced by a number of well-known personalities including Madonna, Jessica Lange, Michael Crawford, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Sigourney Weaver, and Tracy Ullman.
In addition, well-known athletes who incorporate Pilates into their training program include tennis players Pat Cash, Venus and Serena Williams, Jennifer ti, Anna Kournikova and Martina Navratilova. Golfer Tiger Woods and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi are also Pilates enthusiasts.
Benefits of Pilates
Practiced faithfully, Pilates yields numerous benefits. Many students of Pilates report that by attending regular classes, their bodies feel more toned, well-balanced and stronger. Pilates is both gentle, and extremely effective. It teaches balance and control of the body, and that capacity spills over into other areas of your life.
Pilates is an ideal workout for everyone from athletes to older people who may not have the capacity for strenuous exercise. Pilates can be a wonderful supplement to anyone’s current exercise program. Benefits associated with Pilates include:
- Creates a balance between strength and flexibility
- Improves strength and flexibility, particularly of the abdomen and back muscles
- Increases lung capacity and circulation
- Decreases stress and exhaustion
- Increases energy levels and sense of well-being
- Improves muscular and mental coordination
- Increases posture, balance, and core strength
- Improves bone density and joint health
- Improves athletic performance
- Increases positive body awareness