Fitness — 06 June 2011
Pilates: The Shortcut to Sexy

A firm stomach, lean arms, toned legs and perfect balance. All are by-products of Pilates. Most guys will admit that Pilates is one of the most alluring, body shaping exercises a woman can partake in. It is a shortcut to sexy.

Pilates, is an exercise method created by Joseph Pilates. It is often confused with yoga. Like yoga, Pilates is designed to stretch, strengthen, tone and balance the body through specific movements and focused breathing. But unlike Yoga, which is based in spirituality, Pilates is about fitness.

Health Benefits

Pilates has been known to:
• Increase lung capacity and circulation
• Strengthen and increase flexibility
• Improve posture, balance and coordination
• Increase bone density along with joint health
• Regulate posture, leading to the alleviation of back pain
• Immaculately tone and slim the body

Beyond slimming and strengthening the body, Pilates sets out to unite the body and mind so as to create an unconscious ability to move with grace and balance. Given the bevy of health benefits of Pilates and the low-impact nature of the exercises, Pilates has continued gained popularity around the world. When Joseph first came to the United States after WWI, they opened a single studio in Manhattan. Joseph personally trained all instructors in apprenticeships that sometimes lasted 4 years. Today, Pilates can be found everywhere.

Is Pilates just a fad? Not likely. Considering the aging of the Baby Boomers and the general increase in awareness of health, Pilates is here to stay. With so many gyms getting into Pilates instruction, the need arose for a central organization to establish professional standards. The result was the creation of the Pilates Method Alliance in the 1990’s. Pilates is also being considered in many regions for use in schools, and in conditions that were previously overlooked, such as prenatal fitness. There are practitioners that now specialize in clinical rehab Pilates.

Students of Pilates learn to:

• Make the most of the body’s strengths
• Counteract the body weaknesses
• And Correct imbalances

Pilates principles include:
Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Flow of movement and Controlled Breathing. Breathing being one of the more central Pilate principles. Pilates believed that getting the blood pumping was essential to awakening the cells whereby removing waste. He believed this could be accomplished with the blood “charged with oxygen” to purge cells of waste gases. This is why full inhalation & exhalation are central to each Pilates exercise which come with specific breathing instructions.

Pilates History

Born in Germany in 1880, Joseph H. Pilates was an avid fitness enthusiast. Just prior to WWI, he moved to England, where he was a boxer and circus performer. When WWI started, Pilates was sent to the English internment camp where he cared for prisoners who had been stricken by the influenza pandemic of 1918. Having been trained as a nurse in Germany, Pilates used his knowledge of the body to create a series of movements for patients within the confines of their hospital beds The Pilates Reformer, a popular piece of Pilates equipment, is based on a hospital bed. Pilates went on to create a total of 500 different moves.

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