Pilates is an exercise method first developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s as a method of improving his own health, strength, posture and breathing. He developed his routines over many years and these have been further developed today using modern principles of science and rehabilitation.
The aim of Pilates is to strengthen core and postural muscles, along with improving overall body strength, balance, flexibility, endurance and breathing. It is a whole-body low-impact workout, done at a slow pace to ensure the correct muscles are engaged while using good posture and challenging endurance. There is a focus on using good breathing skills throughout the workout.
As the client strengthens, the exercises can be modified to further challenge and improve.
Who is Pilates for?
Pilates can be done by almost anyone, regardless of age, gender, fitness or flexibility.
Most exercises are mat-based on the floor, but they can be adapted to sitting in chairs or standing for those who have difficulty lying down on mats. Sometimes small equipment may be used to further enhance the exercises, but this is not essential, Pilates can be done on a mat without any equipment at all.
A Pilates routine can be adapted and modified as needed. For example, a gentle routine can help those with injury, illness or restricted mobility to get moving again or to assist with rehabilitation, or a more challenging routine can enhance and improve an athletes already existing fitness regime.
Pregnant women and women less than 6 months postnatal, those with health concerns or those who haven't exercised recently should always consult with their doctor before embarking on any exercise routine.
Among the benefits of Pilates are:
- Improved core and pelvic floor strength and stability
- Improved posture
- Increased flexibility
- Better body awareness
- Increased feeling of wellbeing
- Improved overall strength
- Aid to rehabilitation of an injury
- Injury prevention
- Excellent complementary activity for athletes training for other sports
- Ideal pre and postnatal exercise routine
One-to-One or Group Classes?
Whether a client joins a group class or takes a one-to-one session depends on their particular situation and their preferences.
Those with a particular injury, illness or fitness challenge may need to attend one-to-one sessions where the entire session can be tailored to meet their needs. Pregnant women and those less than 6 months postnatal can also benefit from one-to-one sessions.
Some people have a preference for group over one-to-one or vice versa and can be catered for in either type of class.
For beginners, it can be useful to attend a number of one-to-one sessions initially to get comfortable with the routines before joining a group class.
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