What is Pilates?
Nearly ninety years ago, innovator Joseph H. Pilates developed a remarkable fitness and rehabilitation program that has now come into the mainstream. This unique exercise system strengthens and tones your muscles, increases flexibility and physical symmetry, and improves coordination and balance. A key component of Pilates is "to think" FORM and organize the body so that the spine is stable, the abdominals are engaged, the arms and legs are active, and the breath conscious, even and regular. Good FORM enhances not only the practice of Pilates, but also other sporting endeavors, and even household chores. As the spine becomes elongated and the abdominals create a strong "core" or "center," posture improves, injuries may be prevented, and aches and pains often caused by sitting in a desk chair or a car seat all day may be eradicated.
Due to its amazing therapeutic attributes, the Pilates program is highly regarded in the dance and athletic community as well as often being prescribed by physicians, physical therapists, and chiropractors. A number of professional athletes, such as golfer Tiger Woods, and sports teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers, utilize Pilates to bring them to peak performance. In addition to being beneficial to those in optimal health, the Pilates method is extremely safe and effective for "armchair athletes," post-injury, and pre and post-natal clients.
Over 500 Pilates exercises exist, and modifications can be utilized to "work around" a particular injury or health condition, so that the body can heal, yet maintain or gain strength. Exercises are practiced on either the floor or specialized Pilates' equipment: the Universal Reformer, the Trapeze Table, and the Wunda Chair. Pilates' apparatus operates with a system of levers and pulleys; and coiled springs provide tension for muscular development and flexibility. The apparatus functions to place the body in the appropriate anatomical position so that the muscular system works effectively and correctly to improve one's physical appearance, posture and sense of well-being.