What are the fantastic benefits of Pilates?

What are the fantastic benefits of Pilates?

Pilates is a controlled, safe and effective form of low-impact exercise and can be enjoyed by anyone of any age or ability.

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So what are the fantastic benefits of Pilates?  Read on to find out!

My current participants are aged from 35 – 77 years old!) with varied health and abilities.

Pilates is recommended by GPs for its careful and restorative nature.  It is also endorsed by SAGA.  The NHS Choices website recommend that regular Pilates may:

  • help improve posture
  • increase muscle tone
  • improve balance (especially important in my senior clients)
  • increase joint mobility
  • relieve stress and tension

Pilates can greatly enhance your feeling of vitality, ease away stress and build body awareness.  Regular Pilates practice will build your strength and stamina and re-sculpt your muscles to give a leaner, more defined body shape.

Brief History of Pilates

The origins of the Pilates method dates back to in the early 20th century.  Born in Germany in 1883, Joseph Pilates suffered from Asthma and Rickets in childhood leading him to become obsessed with transforming himself into an athlete.

At the beginning of WWI he was living in England and was interned with other German Nationals.  Here he began helping his companions, particularly the sick and injured.  Despite the fact that patients were forbidden to leave their beds, Joseph Pilates found a way to help them exercise, adding to a speeder recovery.

In 1925, he was asked to train the German army. Instead, Pilates emigrated to the USA.  There he met his wife Clara, and the two opened a studio in New York City.  Many people came to work with him, including dancers from the New York Ballet, but it wasn’t until the 1970s and ‘80s that media attention brought the Pilates method to the mainstream.

Today, from Australia to Brazil to the UK, millions of people benefit from Pilates!

What to consider when looking for a Pilates Class?

When you start to look for a pilates class to attend, it is very important to consider what you would like to achieve.  Traditionally, Pilates is a form of exercise that is about quality of movement rather than quantity.

‘Fitness Pilates’ classes tend to be much faster paced focussing on quantity rather than quality of movement, and normally consist of more than 20 participants. The instructor runs the class from the front but will not generally provide any individual instruction.  This type of class may be more appropriate for a younger audience and are looking for something more energetic.

If you are looking for some individual attention to ensure that you perform each exercise correctly then you need to look around for a class which has a maximum of 10 participants.  A small class size allows the instructor to demonstrate the movement and then move around to check that their participants are performing the movement accurately.

Comments from my participants include:

  • it helps them to relax and de-stress
  • pilates has improved their posture which in turn has alleviated back/shoulder ache especially for those sitting at a desk each day
  • they find it fun and not competitive
  • the small class size makes it a pleasant and social workout.

No matter what your end goal is, Pilates can help you achieve it!