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Pilates 101 – The Basics

{written by : Sacha Tarkovsky}

Article word count : 612 -- Article Id : 2352
Article active date : 2009-07-19 -- Article views : 1205

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A concept developed by Joseph Pilates, based on the idea of physical-mind methodology, his system of non-impact exercises are meant to develop ones strength, balance, flexibility and self-consciousness.

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A concept developed by Joseph Pilates, based on the idea of physical-mind methodology, his system of non-impact exercises are meant to develop ones strength, balance, flexibility and self-consciousness.

It"s a great excercise for both you and old and is both enjoyable and healthy lets look at the basics of pilates.

The concept

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. He will very ill as a child, and wished to find a way to make himself physically fit. He tirelessly studied all systems of physical culture, and eventually became a real athlete.

Later as the First World War broke out, Pilates was restrained in England as he was German. There he worked as a nurse and devised some contraptions to aid rehabilitation. This was later refined into his ‘method’, which trains the basic back and abdominal muscles to stabilize correctly the upper torso, and gives the whole body a freer more natural movement.

The Method and Benefits

Specifically the method is a specialized series of movements that can be used by anyone at any age and in any kind of physical condition, even for people who are in wheelchairs.

As his method promotes feelings of well-being, and self-consciousness, people who practice it find themselves improving at many levels.

The method acts to strengthen one’s muscles, and give them greater flexibility. It does so without adding muscle mass, and therefore its ideal for dancers. Also a benefit of practicing the method is that by improving your posture, your flexibility and your sense of balance, you can prevent injury.

This is very important in older adults, dancers and actors. The method is also an excellent aid to rehabilitation.

Working With a Pilates Instructor

If you find a Pilates studio will first have an interview with an instructor. He or she will do a survey on your posture, and how you move.

Then a specially designed training program is developed specifically for you, using classic (or newly adapted) Pilate’s method movements.

Your program will usually begin with some active and passive stretching movements, and general mat work. Passive stretching means the instructor will manipulate your body to get the desired effects. Active stretching means you will perform the stretching exercises as you are monitored by the instructor.

Working on a Pilates Machine

There are two basic machines in the Pilates method. One is known as the Universal Reformer (UF) and one as the Cadillac. The UF looks much like a bed without a mattress. It has a platform that slides back and forth, and many cables, springs and pulleys.

These are vestiges of the original Pilates machinery that he devised for patients in bed, and so exercises can be done to suit the patient’s movement capabilities. Your exercise session will last about 30 minutes, maybe a bit longer.

All movements are done very slowly, and there is a lot of commentary from the instructor regarding all the variables; breathing, posture alignment and the way the movements are performed.

There are now many books and home videos (and many can be found on the internet) that will allow a person to practice without an instructor. However, it is highly advised to at least learn the basics with an instructor first.

The Popularity of Pilates

The method can be said to be nearly universal now. Dancers love it, as it gives them the added benefit of strength without more muscle mass.

Also it give them a great deal of flexibility. Athletes love it as it helps them improve their sport, and also prevent injury. People who are confined to beds, wheelchairs or the home love it as it allows improvement no matter one’s condition.

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MORE FREE BETTER HEALTH INFO On all aspects of health and more on Pilates visit our website for a huge resource of articles, features and downloads and at

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