What is The Pilates Method?
The Pilates Method teaches a holistic, common-sense approach to efficient movement habits for whole-body health. Developed as a system or movement regime, Pilates training provides a variety of choices in both exercises and specialized Pilates equipment to help reinforce good movement habits, lying down, seated, kneeling, and standing. Everything you learn about how to move your body with the Pilates exercises can be practiced during other sport & fitness activities. New habits learned during Pilates workouts can also be reinforced during daily life activities.
Joseph Pilates believed that, “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.” A sound mind in a strong body gives us the tools necessary to live life to the fullest. If you’re looking for a fitness program that is fun, challenging, develops balance and control, provides total body conditioning, improves posture and breathing, helps reduce stress, and has a strong focus on a combination of core strength and flexibility – read on to learn more about what the Pilates can do for you!
Who can participate in a Pilates training program? Whether you are eight, eighty, or any age in between, the Pilates Method has something to offer for health improvement. Regardless of age or fitness level there is always an appropriate place to start when developing a Pilates workout program.
There are over 500 exercises in the Pilates system. Each Pilates exercise can be modified and made more challenging, which creates a never-ending abundance of variety for developing a personalized Pilates training program that can be fine-tuned to meet your unique fitness goals. For healthy individuals a group Pilates Matwork class might be a good way to get your Pilates workout program started. If you have any special needs, injury, accident, or recent surgery, or just want to make the most of your Pilates workouts, private training with qualified Pilates teacher using the Pilates Reformer and other specialized Pilates equipment (Pilates Cadillac / Trapeze Table, the Ladder Barrel, Spine Corrector, Pedi-pole, and Pilates Chairs,) may be the best option to develop a safe and effective exercise program to achieve your wellness goals.
When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to start with a few one-on-one Pilates training sessions and let your Pilates teacher help guide you into a workout plan that’s best for you. The Pilates Matwork has gotten lots of press, but many people are unaware that this is only half of the Pilates system. For the best results a Pilates program should include both the Matwork and Pilates Equipment exercises that are most appropriate for your body.
How long will it take to start seeing benefits from my Pilates Workouts? Most students begin to see improvements after their first few sessions. For some participants, changes are dramatic and happen very quickly. Others begin to notice subtle differences in how they breath, sit, stand, and move, or enjoy benefits they didn’t even realize they were going to get from their Pilates program. One of Joseph Pilates famous quotes is, “You’ll feel better after 10 sessions, look better after 20, and have a completely new body after 30 sessions.”
Do I have to work with a Pilates Instructor, or can I just read a book, follow a video, and do Pilates on my own? Until just a few years ago, there weren’t any of these tools available. Books, videos, DVD’s and MP3’s can be good resources to help you remember the exercises, but nothing compares to the benefits you can receive through the hands-on assistance of a qualified Pilates teacher. We all have dominant and weaker muscles, and don’t always notice when we’re cheating. Regardless of your athletic background, when you are learning the Pilates exercises, the eagle eye of a good instructor can assist you in really getting the most from your Pilates workout program.
Also, since not every Pilates exercise is appropriate for every body… it is helpful to begin under the guidance of a well-trained Pilates teacher to identify which exercises are the best ones for you.
Once you know what you’re doing, you should be self-sufficient and able to workout on your own with occasional sessions with a Pilates instructor to tweak your technique and progress your workout program.
Why should I practice Pilates? The Pilates exercises place the body in non-weight bearing positions to change movement habits and improve whole-body health. With specialized equipment, the exercises help reduce stress on joints while retraining your body to move with better alignment. The Pilates exercises quickly help identify muscle strength, weakness, and imbalance. The spring resistance on the Pilates equipment mimics muscle movement and is very effective in providing resistance throughout a full range of motion. Pilates works the body from the inside out helping to strengthen the smaller muscle groups for better balance and control. Pilates challenges the body to use the right muscles regardless of if you are right-side up, or upside down. As a low-repetition system, the body’s memory is reinforced for correct muscle firing habits.
With every Pilates exercise focus is placed on integrated total-body movement. Every movement is mind over matter, always striving to execute the exercises more correctly to get maximum results. Each Pilates exercise has a specific breath pattern to facilitate ease of movement. All Pilates exercises focus on core strength, support, and stability — key principles to maintaining a strong healthy body and living life to the fullest. Practicing Pilates can benefit everything else you do and enjoy. Pilates is a pro-active system to maintain good health.
What are the benefits of exercising with the Pilates Method? There are so many great benefits to Pilates workouts including: The development of longer, leaner muscles, increased muscle strength, increased flexibility, improved balance, body control, and posture, reduction of joint stress, and improved breath control. Pilates workouts can help maintain good bone density (resistance training on the Pilates equipment), maintain good range of motion, assist in post-rehabilitation of injuries or accidents, and can help reduce stress and improve your mental outlook, just to list a few.
Each and every Pilates participant has their own personal success story. Ask the friends you know that do Pilates to share their Pilates training success stories with you. For those considering Pilates as a workout program, hearing the benefits that you have received just might help peak interest enough to encourage a potential “newbie'” to give Pilates training a try.
Happiness and health go hand in hand. If you’ve never experienced a Pilates workout do yourself a favor and find a qualified teacher, Pilates studio, or health club that offers Pilates programs and check it out. Learn what Pilates can do for you! You’ll love the results.
Looking for a Pilates Teacher? Try the Studio Finders on the following sites:
The Pilates Method Alliance – www.pilatesmethodalliance.org, or Pilates Style Magazine – www.pilatesstyle.com