Pilates was founded by Joseph Huberts Pilates in the 1920s. Born in Germany, he personally suffered from many health problems, including asthma and a variety of other ailments. As a teenager he was determined to improve his physique, and his self-esteem. He became passionate about bodybuilding, gymnastics, and the practice of yoga.
By the age of 14, Joseph Pilates had become so physically fit that he was hired to pose for anatomical charts. Proper posture and form, and the correct breathing techniques, had helped him gain back his health. Now, he was determined to pass on what he had learned.
Pilates named the method of exercise that he developed “Contrology.” It included a series of exercises featuring stretching, pulling, and moves to strengthen the muscles, especially in the abdomen and pelvic area. It promoted proper spine alignment, combined with rhythmic breathing techniques.
I started to learn and educate myself in the Pilates method after injuring my lower back playing volleyball. This was over 20 years ago, but I quit learning and practicing Pilates. I saw all of the benefits in my personal life, just like Joesph Pilates had taught.
Pilates is a great form of exercises for anyone who’s interested in getting firm and strengthening the muscles. It also helps improve concentration.
Learning the muscle-mind connection helps for athletes. Runners, NFL players, golfers, basketball players and many more use Pilates to improve their strength, balance, coordination and overall performance.
Pilates is not a just a workout for women. It can be really challenging or really easy, and it’s easy to adapt to fit your fitness level.
Many studies have linked Pilates with improved health. Lengthening the muscle with Pilates movements may benefit chronic back pain and helps strengthen the transverse abdominal muscles, which in turn helps alignment your spine and correct your posture.
Stretching your muscles is a wonderful way to quickly release tension.
Benefits or Pilates include:
w Overcoming anxiety, with a deep and rhythmic breathing technique that can help you calm and relax the brain
w Improved strength and flexibility
w Improved balance
w Increased focus and self-awareness — knowing how your body feels, and what it needs, will give you a greater understanding of the muscle-mind connection
w Helping recover from, or prevent, injury — especially with lower back and knee problems, and scoliosis, muscular imbalance may be the primary cause of injury
w Better posture
w Improved breathing quality, with increased volumes and increased oxygenation
If you never tried it before, then I suggest you find a Pilates class close to you and try it out! You will be surprised at the results.
Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. She can be reached at DietDocHawaii.com, Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com or (808) 276-6892