Many people are still not very sure what Pilates is all about and how it works. Perhaps you have already heard about Pilates but have a vague idea that it is involved with exercise and fitness. Read on to find useful information on the subject and decide for yourself if this is the best form of exercise for you.
What Are Pilates?
Pilates is a kind of exercise that emphasizes the core strength of the body. It focuses on strengthening the body and improves overall fitness. It is all about posture, balance, and flexibility, just like Yoga. There is a mind-body connection here as your mind needs to focus on the breathing as well as the movement of the body.
Who Developed Pilates?
Joseph Pilates is behind the invention of Pilates. He was from Germany where he worked as a carpenter and gymnast. He developed the exercise program for injured soldiers and dancers in the UK. He firmly believed in the connection between mind and body and thus saw a connection between physical and mental health. Earlier, this form of exercise was known as Contrology.
How Do You Do Pilates?
There is a specific order in the Pilates exercises, and different movements have different names like swan, Elephant, Criss-Cross and more. Although these exercises may look simply to perform, they require lots of precision and control as there is a strong emphasis on the technique of the exercise. It is more about discipline, concentration, and breathing. There won’t be a lot of sweat, but you will be able to feel each of your muscles stretching during the exercises.
One can do Pilates at home or join a class where a trainer can supervise you. At home, one can follow the DVD or videos on Pilates. You can start with a short time and increase it gradually to about an hour. With regular exercise, you can gradually feel the difference in the strength and flexibility of your body. You will get more sculpted and enjoy a better posture.
Pilates And Health Conditions?
There is good news for all those with health issues like high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease. They can certainly do Pilates but should check out with their doctor first. There might be some adjustments needed for those with diabetes. You may need to avoid certain moves in Pilates if you have diabetic complications like retinopathy.
Pilates is, in fact, good for those who have arthritis as it is a strength-training program. A combination of strength training and aerobic exercise can make the joints flexible and help maintain balance in the body. For those with chronic low back pain, Pilates again makes for a good choice as the exercises help to strengthen the lower back muscles.
For the pregnant women, they can continue with Pilates if they were already doing it and if their pregnancy is progressing well. Yet, it is advisable to consult your doctor every trimester. However, avoid Pilates or any form of exercise if you have suffered a recent back or knee injury. Let your doctor clear you first if you are fit for the exercise.
Pilates can be done and enjoyed by just about anyone. One can modify those gentle exercises to make them more challenging. Pilates is suitable for beginners as well as those who exercise regularly. The best part about Pilates is that it is a great addition to your aerobic workout. However, a Pilates isn’t aerobic; it is a good idea to add some cardio exercises. Once you have mastered the basic Pilates exercises, you can work on the advanced moves. Always begin the exercise under the guidance of a Pilates instructor.