Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Practice makes perfect posture.
Joseph Pilates is the “inventor” of the incredibly popular exercise system. He was born in Dusseldorf in 1883 and was a very sick child, who was constantly looking for ways to improve his health and get stronger. Originally called Contrology, Joseph Pilates drew inspiration from gymnastics, boxing and yoga to develop the exercises and equipment used. He lived well into his eighties as a strong and fit man.
Pilates is a whole-body health system. The exercises concentrate on alignment of the spine, breathing through the movements and developing a strong core - your muscles around your abdomen, pelvis and lower back - to improve co-ordination and balance. If practiced well and with consistency, Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control and endurance in the entire body.
The beauty of Pilates is that it can be tailored to suit any body and fitness level. Most people associate exercise and something that is challenging and sometimes inaccessible. But Pilates, whilst not a cardio exercise, will improve tone and strength through micromovements and precision in practice. This is true of the original mat Pilates through to the machine-based Reformer Pilates.
In our modern day lives, we all spend far too much time hunched over desks and screens inadvertently damaging our spinal muscles and eroding our posture. Pilates helps to rebuild those muscles and correct our postures to help avoid back pain and potential injury. Through creation of space in the spine and elongation of the muscles, Pilates is the perfect exercise to build on to.
It is wonderfully complementary for athletes such as runners and cyclists who often neglect their core. It helps to support the spine and stabilise the pelvis, whilst stretching too often contracted muscles.
It can also be used in a therapeutic capacity after injury as part of a rehabilitation programme. The gentle nature of the practice ensures that one can build a step-by-step path to recovery, regaining strength and mobility as well as improving mental health, through complete immersion – just for an hour – in making our bodies better.