What is Pilates: The smart and efficient way
Pilates is a method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch,
strengthen, tone, mobilize and balance the body. Through techniques originally
created by Joseph Pilates you can restore your posture and increase core
strength while improving bone density and joint health. Pilates is great for
muscle stamina, mental clarity and overall health, wellness, and awareness.
Pilates: A short history.
Joseph Pilates was born in 1880 near Dusseldorf, Germany. As a child, he
suffered from asthma, rheumatic fever and rickets. He overcame his limitations
through exercise and bodybuilding. He later became accomplished in many sports,
including skiing, diving and gymnastics. Pilates’ equipment was first invented
when he worked as a nurse after the onset of WWI. He rigged springs to hospital
beds enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance. This led to his
later equipment designs, which are still used today in pilates studios. In 1926,
Pilates immigrated to the United States. On his journey to the US, he met his
wife Clara. They opened a fitness studio in New York and shared an address with
the New York City Ballet.
How can Pilates help you?
Pilates, if done on a regular basis, has been found to be successful in the
prevention of recurring back pain. After a while, poor postural habits that have
been “ingrained” over many years begin to feel normal until pain sets in. This
pain makes itself known in the form of back trouble, shoulder injuries, tension
headaches, neck pain or knee injuries.
No amount of undirected exercise will help since the “cheat mechanisms” are
not addressed in most methods of exercises.
Short muscles only get tighter and weak muscles only get weaker. Because
these bad habits are created over time, it takes attentive dedication and
determination to re-train the neurological pathways and create healthy habits.
This is what pilates can do for you. Pilates can help retrain your muscles to
work efficiently and correctly, strengthening your stabilizing muscles so that
your mobilizing muscles can more efficiently and safely propel you into your
daily life! As you move with this new found efficiency you will notice your
balance, posture, flexibility and overall physical capability has improved.
Your sessions with FITT for Life will consist of: Relaxation, Concentration,
Alignment, Breathing, Centering, Coordination, Flowing Movements, and Stamina. A
FITT for Life, we are committed to creating workouts that facilitate the
practice of the eight principles of pilates.
Why Relaxation, Concentration, Alignment,
Breathing, Centering, Coordination, Flowing Movements and Stamina?
The starting point in a session, releasing unwanted tension from the body and
leaving the worries of the day at the door — an hour to forget about your daily
responsibilities and focus solely on yourself.
Continual focus on the self, breath and the moving of your body as a whole
will help you achieve your wellness goals. “Concentrate on the correct movements
each time you do the exercise, lest you do them improperly and lose all the
vital benefits of their value.” Joseph Pilates
All parts of the body affect one another. By keeping joints in neutral,
unnecessary biomechanical stress is avoided and “cheating mechanisms” are
retrained by laying the foundation for new neurological pathways. These pathways
can turn correct posture into habit.
In order for the body to receive enough oxygen to perform the exercise,
efficient breathing is necessary. Moving on the exhalation enables greater core
stability through the hardest part of the exercise.
We will focus on balance of the body halves while awakening the core through
continual concentration, release, strength, breath and awareness.
Through breath, concentration, and repetition awkward difficult movements can
become familiar exercises performed with ease. With time and practice your mind
and body will synchronize and a sense of familiarity will be found within the
movement. “The pilates method of body conditioning is gaining mastery of your
mind over the complete control of your body” Joseph Pilates
Use of your natural breath during a pilates session will assist you in
finding ease and flow throughout the movement. With each inhalation you prepare
yourself to move and with each exhalation you move deeper into the exercise.
When you have gained strength, confidence, and sense of ease within the
exercises, the tempo of a session will increase to match your abilities.
Energy will no longer be wasted on holding patterns from pain, stress, or
inefficient movement. Pilates focus’ on muscle stamina which will help you
maintain correct posture for longer periods of time. You will be able to sit
taller, longer. The gained stamina will help you move efficiently for your
chosen sport or activity by ensuring that the right muscles are strong enough to
do the work.