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What Is Pilates and Is It Good For Me?

To be able to understand the benefits of Pilates you must first look at what Pilates is and what is was originally designed for.  Pilates is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Pilates was formed by Joe during the First World War with the intention to improve the rehabilitation program for casualties. During this period, Pilates was designed to aid injured soldiers in regaining their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilising key muscles.  Pilates focuses around the concept that mental and physical health was essential to one another, creating what is a method of total body conditioning. Pilates uses correct alignment, centring, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement (the Pilates principles) to establish a perfectly working body from the inside out.

Pilates has a focus on the core which can be thought of as the foundation of your body. Your core is the area between your shoulders and your pelvis excluding your arms and legs and encompasses all the muscles within this area. The essential intrinsic core muscles are your Transverse Abdominus, Pelvic Floor and Multifidus muscles.  During Pilates movements, the focus is on strengthening and lengthening the muscles to build a balanced body.

The key benefits you gain from practising Pilates are:

  • Alignment
    • Proper alignment balances your skeleton so your muscles are held at their ideal length, without tension. If your body is constantly in poor alignment, it places a great strain on your muscles, ligaments, and joints, which will reduce your body’s ability to react to the force of gravity, resulting in aches and pains and inhibited movement.
  • Strength
    • It strengthens the whole body, targeting each muscle group evenly with a mixture of dynamic and static strength training. You also work on all planes of movement – sitting, lying, and standing. This means that the muscles are worked from many different directions and in a complete manner.
  • Flexibility
    • Dynamic flexibility rather than static stretching is the focus and this involves taking your body into and out of a stretch repeatedly, in a choreographed movement. It warms up the muscles so that they respond more effectively.
  • Endurance
    • Focus on improving your concentration to build strength for both – endurance comes first from mental strength and therefore requires determination and persistence.
  • Stress Relief
    • Stress is one of the biggest negative factors of modern life, affecting your physical and mental wellbeing just as much as a disease does. Frequent exercise is one of the best remedies for stress and has many benefits. Pilates focuses on breathing – a deep, mindful pattern of breathing that instantly enhances feelings of calm and release in the body and mind. We also work constantly on posture: a poised and lifted body, free from tension and pain, creates a calm mind.

At Optimum Health Solutions Sylvania, we’ve developed a full Pilates studio! So come and book a session with our Accredited Exercise Physiologists today!

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