Towards the beginning of the 20th century, Joseph Pilates created movements to assist English veterans in recovering from war injuries during World War I. For decades, anyone interested in gaining strength and building a solid core turned to Pilates as a form of exercise.
Many Pilates classes use specialised machines although this is not completely necessary. Pilates can be practised using a mat and your bodyweight. The movements are easy to learn and can be repeated at home.
Why everyone should practise Pilates? The essence of Pilates is performing controlled breathing exercises and learning practical movements that increase the guest’s mobility.
Pilates is similar to yoga but emphasises your core or “the powerhouse.” This area covers the abdomen, oblique muscles, lower back, outer thigh and glutes. Special movements provide a variety of benefits such as strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, coordination, balance and good posture. The core-strengthening moves improve flexibility while building strength and teaching the practitioner to control the entire body through proper alignment.
Everyone at all fitness levels can practice Pilates. The easy movements are basic exercises ideal for those who never started this form of movement. Those who are at the end of a recovery process might find relief in this safe and gentle workout.
Pilates differs from yoga. Pilates focuses on strengthening the abdominal muscles while yoga works on increasing flexibility. One of the main reasons people practise Pilates is to improve posture. Practitioners can see results after two months of Pilates lessons (up to 3-4 times a week). Each lesson can last up to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Going beyond this time limit leads to overtraining – so there are no huge time commitments required for success.
Nutrition plays a key role in Pilates’ effectiveness on the body. Cutting out fried and fatty foods are crucial as they interfere with fat burning. Its long-term benefits include having increased mobility and being able breathing.
Pilates can be combined with other sports such as swimming. For swimmers, breathing techniques learned through Pilates can apply to breathing during swimming. They might move faster and quicker as Pilates can unlock a new range of motions.
The key to success in Pilates are practising, eating right and applying its techniques to other sports. Unlike gym workouts or martial arts, no additional equipment or private lessons are required to achieve success. The practitioner is not beholden to any piece of workout gear or coach. If the practitioner values autonomy and freedom in building strong cores on their own, Pilates is the right way to go.