Pilates was developed in the early part of last century by Joseph Pilates. During the First World War, Pilates was interned as a nurse and began to use the methodologies he had worked on to improve rehabilitation programmes for casualties, helping injured soldiers to regain their health by strengthening, stretching and stabilising key muscles. After the war Joseph Pilates moved to New York and set up the first pilates studio.
Pilates has long been popular among ballet dancers and gymnasts as it favours control and technique over repetition and speed and is used for overall conditioning and strengthening of the body. Its appeal is now widespread as it is a gentle non-aerobic exercise method that doesn’t stress the joints or the heart, making it one of the safest most effective forms of exercise available.
Pilates performed with equipment such as a reformer, trapeze table, chair or ladder barrel allows wider possibilities for clients as a result of the resistance offered by the machines. The resistance enhances the feedback and gives greater structure to the Pilates technique. Pilates equipment was specifically designed to enhance rehabilitation, by taking you through ranges of motion you couldn’t do using gravity alone. Equipment Pilates is particularly recommended for anyone seeking relief from chronic pain, rehabilitation after surgery or recovery from an injury. It is also very effectively used as part of a multi-session programme, combining mat and equipment work to accelerate progress towards a goal – be that rehabilitation or not. It is suitable for both beginners as well as those more experienced in Pilates.
The Benefits of Pilates
During Pilates movements, the focus on strengthening and lengthening the muscles at the same time produces long, lean, strong overall muscle tone that doesn’t create bulk. Pilates also has very specific benefits including improvement to pelvic floor function, bone density improvement and lung capacity/breathing technique.
With regular Pilates classes, you can expect overall slimming, greatly improved flexibility and increased mobility, improved alignment and postural correction. You will find you are holding yourself differently, standing taller, sitting straighter and moving with better balance and coordination.
Pilates can benefit you in many ways;
- Increased energy
- Mental and physical harmony
- Strong, sleek muscles
- Greater flexibility
- Muscle tension release
- Improved core strength
Pilates classes are ideal for people looking for rehabilitation and remedial exercise as a result of a medical condition or injury. Pilates classes are a low impact form of exercise developing the smaller muscle groups that work to support joints and bone structures. It is a perfect way to gain strength in the weaker or injured muscles and joints.
Pilates can help you to recover from many injuries and medical complaints including:
- Ankle injuries
- Back injuries
- Hip injuries
- Knee injuries
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Neck injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Shoulder injuries and tendonitis
Before undertaking rehabilitation or remedial Pilates classes check with your GP or medical practitioner first. Working with your doctor ahead of time may be the best way to plan a Pilates exercise program that’s right for you.