What is Pilates and why should it be part of my exercise program?

October 16, 2017

In the 1920s, physical trainer Joseph Pilates introduced Pilates into America as a way to help injured athletes and dancers safely return to exercise and maintain their fitness. Since then, Pilates has been adapted to suit people in the general community.

 

Pilates can be an aerobic and non-aerobic form of exercise. It requires concentration and focus, because you move your body through precise ranges of motion. Pilates lengthens and stretches all the major muscle groups in your body in a balanced fashion.

In Pilates, your muscles are never worked to exhaustion, so there is no straining. The workout consists of a variety of exercise sequences that are performed in repetitions, over a session of 45 to 90 minutes. Mat work and specialised equipment for resistance are used.

Due to the individual attention, this method can suit everybody from elite athletes to people with limited mobility, pregnant women and people with low fitness levels.

Classes are held at Kimberley Physiotherapy, and are a combination of Equipment, Reformer, Mat, Antenatal and Postnatal classes.  Pilates has a number of benefits including but not limited to:

  • improved flexibility

  • increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body)

  • balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body

  • enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs

  • improved stabilisation of your spine

  • improved posture

  • rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances

  • improved physical coordination and balance

  • relaxation of your shoulders, neck and upper back

  • safe rehabilitation of joint and spinal injuries

  • prevention of musculoskeletal injuries


Pilates suitable for everyone
 
A typical Pilates workout includes a number of exercises and stretches. Each exercise is performed with attention to proper breathing techniques and abdominal muscle control. To gain the maximum benefit, you should do Pilates at least two or three times per week. You may notice postural improvements after 10 to 20 sessions.
 
 

Types of Pilates

The two basic forms of Pilates are:

  • Mat-based Pilates – this is a series of exercises performed on the floor using gravity and your own body weight to provide resistance. The main aim is to condition the deeper, supporting muscles of your body to improve posture, balance and coordination

  • Equipment-based Pilates – this includes specific equipment that works against spring-loaded resistance, including the ‘reformer’, which is a moveable carriage that you push and pull along its tracks. Some forms of Pilates include weights (such as dumbbells) and other types of small equipment that offer resistance to the muscles.

Quality in a Pilates workout

Pilates consists of moving through a slow, sustained series of exercises using abdominal control and proper breathing. The quality of each posture is more important than the number of repetitions or how energetically you can move. 
 

Pilates and general precautions

Although Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise, certain people should seek medical advice before embarking on a new program, including:

  • people who have recently had surgery

  • pregnant women

  • people aged 40 years or more

  • people with a pre-existing medical condition such as heart disease

  • people with pre-existing musculoskeletal injuries or disorders

  • anyone who has not exercised for a long time

  • people who are very overweight or obese.


For an up to date schedule of our classes at Kimberley Physiotherapy head to the mind body classes link by clicking HERE.

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