by Sally Bone
(Naples, Florida, USA)
The Pilates exercise and training system is a popular fitness program that is known to focus on stretching, strengthening and balancing of the different areas of the body. It makes use of a system or sets of body specific exercises that is practiced along with focused breathing patterns.
The exercises also help in teaching proper breathing awareness while doing them. This fitness system also helps aid spine alignment. The exercises in the Pilates system also aim to strengthen the deep torso muscles that is more commonly known as the “core”.
History of Pilates
The Pilates system was first developed by a German by the name of Joseph Pilates sometime during the First World War. In the system that is now widely known by his last name, the aim was to help improve the rehabilitation program being provided for the returning war veterans.
This type of fitness regimen was proposed the make use only of a few and precise movements. This makes it a more convenient fitness regimen especially for injured soldiers.
The said fitness system makes do with more emphasis on control and form, adding a mental aspect to fitness. A primary aim then was to help injured soldiers to regain their strength as well as to stabilize some of the body’s key muscles.
At first, Joseph Pilates initially called this new fitness system as Contrology. The term was chosen because he believed that the new method and its exercises needed to make use of the mind more often in order to control the muscles to achieve the perfect execution and form of each type of exercise.
The aim was to make the mind work closely together with the body in order to allow movements with grace and balance but with the least amount of movement possible. It is important in the Pilates system that practitioners to always pay close attention to the body as it moves when doing the exercises.
Another thing that Joseph Pilates believed is that good blood circulation is very important for having a healthy body. The blood needs to circulate properly in order for the body to function more efficiently.
Good circulation helps awaken the cells in the body. Good circulation also helps a lot in getting rid of waste products in cells and tissues. These are the waste products that are usually related to fatigue.
One way for good circulation to do its work properly is through proper breathing. As the blood circulating in the body needs to be rich in oxygen and be freed of waste gases, proper breathing will allow it to do so. Pilates believed that proper breathing and good circulation go hand in hand.
And because of this the practice of proper breathing is an important part of each Pilates exercise. If at one point a person stops breathing for a moment during a certain set of exercise, then it is considered as improper. The person may be doing something wrong in the said exercise.
The Pilates exercise and training system also focuses on strengthening the group of muscles usually referred to as the “core”. This group of muscles which is located in the center of the body includes the muscles in the hips, abdomen, lower back and the buttocks.
The Pilates exercises focuses on building a more powerful core. This is where the body’s energy is said to originate from.