What Is Pilates?

Pilates is the hottest trend in fitness today. But what is it, and how can it help you? Pilates (it’s pronounced pa-lah-teez) refers to a type of body conditioning exercise that used a series of controlled movements to strengthen the body and tone muscles. Pilates can help increase your range of movement, muscle strength, improve your mood and sense of well being, and provide you with greater flexibility and a better posture.

Pilates has been popular with gymnasts and professional dancers for many years. Part of its popularity has to do with the fact that pilates can help increase strength, coordination, flexibility and endurance without adding bulky muscles. Pilates has lately become very popular among Hollywood actors as well because it effective in shaping and toning the body.

Growing Popularity

Now, pilates has become popular among the general public precisely because of its reputation as an effective body sculpting and core strengthening exercise routine. In fact, most people who practice pilates on a regular basis report feelings of increased flexibility, tone, improved posture, mood, and overall better health.

It’s interesting to note that pilates has become popular with famous actors and athletes in light of its origins. Originally pilates was designed to treat immobile or otherwise bedridden soldier patients during World War I in Great Britain. Joseph H. Pilates designed the pilates exercises.

He was working as a nurse at the time and noticed a need for physical rehabilitation and therapy for injured and immobile soldiers. He designed the bulk of the movements and exercises that are still in use today. Pilates himself was born in Germany.

As a child, Pilates had been a sickly child. He was afflicted with asthma, rickets, and other childhood ailments that left his body weak and frail. He sought to make his body stronger by taking up several sports and becoming a dedicated athlete. Finally while working as a nurse during World War I, he developed the exercise regime that he would forever be associated with.

Like yoga and other mind-body exercise formats, pilates is linked to a philosophy of health and flexibility in both the mind and body. Pilates himself studied yoga and Chinese martial arts and incorporated aspects of these wellness practices into his format.

Pilates made a strong connection between emotional and physical health and strove to produce a format that revolved around this fundamental principle. At the core of pilates is a strong philosophy centered on the attributes of focus, precision, concentration, control, breath, flow, and strength.

Like yoga, pilates is often practiced on a mat. Mat routines are common, and so is the use of various supporting accessories and tools. Mat exercises and routine are the most common way to practice pilates.

Another popular pilates format is the training method. Training involves the use of various machines to strengthen and tone muscles. Both approaches to pilates involve the use of resistance and controlled movements to achieve the desired results. Most people who do pilates report that it can be difficult at first, but that the body slowly conforms to the practice.