Pilates is the brainchild of Joseph Pilates, who despite being a sickly child suffering from rickets and asthma, lived to be an octogenarian. His in-depth study of gymnastics, bodybuilding, diving and skiing led to his devising a series of exercises. Today his disciples have made variations of the original, while the Pilates exercises themselves have undergone quite a few changes based on scientific grounds for added safety.
Pilates is a form of exercise, which focuses on
– Realigning the spine in its natural ‘S’ bend or neutral ‘S’ – more suited for fluidity of movement and less wear and tear of discs. Our sedentary lifestyle encourages the spine to move out of the natural ‘S’ shape which can lead to rounded shoulders or back pain.
– Strengthening and toning the back, abdominal and pelvic muscles
– Improving overall body posture.
– Giving the body a complete workout and helping you gain an insight into the specific strength and structure of your body, so that mind and body are harmonized.
Pilates is based on 8 principles, namely:
- Flowing movement
You can do Pilates with a class as a general activity or you may find one-to-one training, called Personal Pilates, more to your liking based on your needs. Classes vary from 4 sessions in a week to 1 session per week depending on your schedule. A single session usually lasts for an hour.
Pilates is suitable for almost everyone irrespective of fitness level. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just the domain of dancers, gymnasts and athletes but a variety of people ranging from those wishing to tone their thighs, get a flat stomach, reduce their bulk or simply remain fit. However, special considerations include:
– Pregnancy: Pilates is suitable for prenatal or postnatal women as it is a gentle, low impact form of exercise. However, pregnant women should attend a class designed to meet their needs rather than the general Pilates class or go for Personal Pilates.
– Osteoporosis: Such patients need to work on a one to one basis with their instructor rather than attend mat work classes.
– Disc herniation (slipped disc, prolapsed disc, bulging disc): Such individuals may attend a mat work class only after more than a year has passed since their problem.
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