New to Pilates? Take a look at some of the common questions and answers and discover how Pilates can improve your physical health and mental well-being.
Pilates is not a fitness fad; it is a holistic concept that will not only make you feel fitter and more flexible but will also enrich your whole life. The series of movements will change how your body looks and give you a new physical poise and greater mental strength. Pilates is a system of exercise that, when regularly practised, will improve your flexibility and strength. Sitting at a desk all day unbalances your body, causing the hip flexors (the top of your thighs) and the upper back to form themselves into a rounded position. Pilates will help to release such tensions and ease your body back into a more natural balance.
Pilates is named after its inventor, Joseph Pilates, who formulated the exercises in the 1920s. There are 34 original Pilates movements. Pilates has been around for the last eighty years but has recently drawn much media coverage. Many famous celebrities, such as Joss Stone, Paris Hilton, Janet Jackson, Madonna, and Liz Hurley, to name but a few, have given the technique their endorsement. Pilates is no longer an exclusive secret for the rich and famous. While some people become interested in Pilates for its cosmetic body-sculpting effects, others come to it through referrals by their physiotherapist or medical practitioner.
People often wonder how Pilates exercises can change their body shape. Pilates movements gently stretch the muscles, pulling them into leaner and longer shapes. It works by continually stretching your limbs and torso, ensuring muscles become longer and leaner rather than shorter and thicker.
Anyone can do Pilates, you do not have to be an athlete to be involved in Pilates, the exercises are designed to put a minimum of strain on the body, they also aim to challenge its capabilities.
There are numerous benefits to practising Pilates. It gives you:
With many exercise classes you don’t have to think about what you are doing; you just do it to get through it. But with Pilates, every movement is a conscious act controlled by the power of the mind. All Pilates movements are slow and controlled. They should be done at the same constant speed throughout and not in a jerky manner, as this puts your body at risk of injury. Slower movements are much harder to control and ultimately more effective, and therefore improves concentration and focus within the process.
Breathing plays a significant part in Pilates, and yet, for such a natural movement, it can be hard to perfect. The main principle for beginners is that you should breathe out when making the greatest effort, using thoracic breathing, while also keeping the deep abdominal muscles slightly contracted.
Every exercise is controlled from the contraction of the core muscles, either from the TA muscles or from the pelvic floor. This is because these two groups of muscles help to stabilise the body as we move. Research has shown that it is not productive to use both muscles together, so when following your routine, try to activate your centre by using just one group of muscles.
Yes! Pilates works on core strength, shoulder stability, mobility, and alignment. Thus, Pilates can have a noticeable and significant, positive impact on your posture.
Good posture is vital. Having bad posture will prevent your body from functioning efficiently, and it will also undermine your balance and coordination. The danger is that if we develop a habit of having bad posture, our body will accept it as normal and will learn to suffer any associated aches and pains.
Poor posture can lead to many adverse symptoms, which include:
A neutral spine is used to describe when your spine is in its most natural position. This will not necessarily be in the position that feels most comfortable. It is quite likely that your “normal” posture has been created by poor habits and that you have just become accustomed to the way it feels.
We all have niggling pains that indicate tension in our body. We should never ignore these symptoms. Instead, we should use them to identify which areas need more strengthening or more stretching and mobility. Pilates trains the body to prevent injury and to maintain good posture and movement. Making it an excellent addition to everyone’s fitness routine for a stronger and more stable self.
Please wear something you feel comfortable in, especially loose around the waistband. Footwear is not required as we remove this during the class.
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