The Benefits Of Pilates
Pilates was founded by Joseph Pilates and originally named ‘Contrology’ – or the Science of Control. Created in the 1920’s as a form of rehabilitation; it was initially used to strengthen the bodies and treat the aches, pains and injuries of World War 1 soldiers and dancers. Today, millions of people worldwide practice benefit from Pilates; to strengthen specific muscle groups to overcome a physical injury, to help with pain management and elimination, and improve overall movement on a day to day basis.
Principles of Pilates
The main principles of Pilates include:
- Breathing: As Joseph Pilates stated, it is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it. In order to be able to move through an exercise effectively and feel its benefits, it is extremely important to learn the Pilates breath.
- Centering: The act of drawing your own mental and physical focus to the core/centre/powerhouse (as Joseph called it) during each exercise. This is the area between your lower ribs and hips as well as your lower and upper back muscles aka torso.
- Concentration: Paying close attention to the specific details of every Pilates exercise.
- Control: Using your mind to direct and manages each separate muscular movement.
- Flow: All Pilates exercises should flow between movements, with goals of fluidity, elegance and grace. The intention is the energy you exert during each exercise should connect all body parts smoothly and flow evenly throughout your body.
- Precision: This is the fundamental principle and is needed to maintain a conscious awareness of precision during all Pilates movements. The original teachings and cueing were very specific in terms of placement, alignment and trajectory for each moving part of the body.
All the above principles working in unity give us the beautiful movement discipline of Pilates, and if followed correctly can benefit our bodies in so many ways.
What are the Health Benefits of Pilates?
- Improved posture
- Improved core strength and stability
- Increased muscle tone and muscle balance
- Joint mobility and stability
- Improved flexibility and range of movement
- Increased body awareness and coordination
- Enhanced vitality
- Injury prevention and rehabilitation
How Pilates Can Help us in our Day-to-Day Lives
Pilates can help to strengthen our core which can help us sit, stand and walk better. We start by isolating the postural muscles we use, and then build on them to improve overall movement and functionality.
E.g. #1: Working out the glute medius almost every session can help you to use that muscle outside of Pilates classes i.e. during walking/running.
E.g. #2: Lower pelvic floor strengthening exercises and upper ab exercises also increase core musculature endurance during prolonged sitting which helps stabilise the spine. The series of Pilates movements also help to improve techniques in other forms of physical activity such as running, sports and gym workouts.
E.g. #3: Many Pilates exercises aim to switch on the core muscle activation as well as stretch and strengthen hamstrings, which can also help improve on a straight leg deadlift technique.
Who can Benefit from Pilates?
The easy answer is everyone! Regardless of age, fitness level or gender, everyone can improve their physical health through Pilates exercises. However, specific groups of people may have more of a need for Pilates, such as those needing pre- and post-natal rehabilitation, dancers and those suffering from motor-neurological and musculoskeletal conditions (such as arthritis and fibromyalgia) which can also be better managed through Pilates.
Many sporting athletes and celebrities also use Pilates as a form of rehabilitation and to transform their bodies and functional maintenance, including:
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Lebron James
- Kobe Bryant
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Stephanie rice (Aussie swimmer)
- Missy Franklin (NZ swimmer)
- David Beckham
- Khloe Kardashian
- Kate Hudson
- Miranda Kerr
- Lucy Liu
How to Get Started with Pilates
At Active Movement Studio we focus on group and one-on-one mat Pilates sessions both in-person and online to help get our clients back to optimal, and pain-free movement. We’ve also got a Pilates to take home pack inclusive of a Pilates ball, ring, sliders and a Black Roll loop band. Along with your Pilates pack, you will also receive a free exercise sheet with a series of 8 Pilates exercises you can do at home where you can incorporate some of the equipment from your new Pilates pack. This pack will get you going for your home-based Pilates workouts whilst tuning into our online AMS zoom Pilates sessions.