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The What and Why of Pilates

Pilates has been around for nearly a century, since Joseph Pilates created the system of physical and mental conditioning in his New York City studio in the early 1920s after emigrating from Germany. Despite the exercise method’s long history, it’s still relatively obscure to many. But its principles are simple and physical payoffs are large, particularly for people concerned about aging well.

The core principle of Pilates is twofold: engage the lower abdominal muscles, transversus abdominis, while simultaneously moving the rest of the body. As we age, we can rejuvenate our overworked large muscle groups, quadriceps femoris and gluteus maximus, by initiating movement in our under-developed abdominals.

Pilates combines the science and artistry of movement, and addresses your body’s needs through a precise series of exercises designed to enhance strength, flexibility, and control. The Pilates Leg Series, executed either on the mat or apparatus, easily engages the abdominals, lengthens the legs, and releases and massages the lower back. Movement is the lifeblood of the body. Circulation is the key to preventing disease and pain. Pilates is a practical and safe choice for longevity and quality of life.

Pilates may appear intimidating at first glance, just like any unfamiliar exercise. But, you do not have to be thin or fit to begin – you just have to be present and dedicated. Every body responds to Pilates because the exercises, for the most part, are executed while lying flat on the back. An experienced Pilates instructor can help your progress, modifying or amplifying exercises for each client. Often, clients I’ve worked with are seeking to gain strength without straining their muscles, as well as prevent or recover from injuries.

Everyone longs to lead a life of full mobility, but people often ignore the importance of circulation and balance. This is where Pilates can help – articulating the three points of the foot (heel, ball, toe) is necessary to ensure balance. This helps negate the worry of falling and of injury to an aging body.

After one Pilates session, people’s bodies feel renewed. Their tension and stress are relieved, and they achieve confidence. Here’s what you can expect: By controlled breathing and movement, your muscles will elongate and you’ll begin to feel more flexible. By executing each exercise with precision, you will gain strength. Pilates combines proper alignment of the bones and the effortless movement of the muscles to provide a perfect, practical fitness program.

10 Benefits of Pilates

1. Strengthens Core Muscles
2. Relieves and Prevents Back Pain
3. Relieves and Prevents Joint Pain
4. Creates Correct Body Alignment
5. Allows for Proper Body Movement
6. Articulates The Three Points of the Foot
7. Establishes Balance
8. Encourages Circulation
9. Controls Chronic Illness
10. Strengthens Breath Control

Learn more at Pilates Performance.

Sandi Tomlin-Sutker
Written by Sandi Tomlin-Sutker