"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness,"
said Joseph Pilates, who founded the Pilates Method back in
the 1920s. And devotees to this exercise system swear by its
ability to achieve the best of both worlds: physical and mental
Pilates, along with yoga and tai chi, is considered
a mind-body exercise because it benefits both the physical
and emotional aspects of health.
Indeed, pilates has been making headlines in recent years.
Julia Roberts reportedly used it to lose her post-pregnancy
weight, Madonna does it, and so has Halle Berry, Sting, the
San Francisco 49ers, and Patrick Swayze.
"[Pilates] has been the fastest growing fitness modality
within the fitness industry for years. Everybody wants to
know about it," wrote Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle, director
of the Pilates Center of Austin, in the Austin American-Statesman.
Pilates Among the Top 10 Fitness Trends of 2007
Pilates will continue to be among the top fitness trends
of 2007, according to The American Council on Exercise (ACE),
largely because of its attention to the mind-body connection.
Pilates, says ACE, provides an alternative to higher impact
activities while promoting proper posture, breathing and body
awareness. Exercises like pilates, and also yoga and tai chi,
incorporate "elements of mental and spiritual fitness."
By incorporating these elements, ACE reports that "individuals
will take better care of their entire being and psychological
self, not just their bodies."
What IS Pilates?
You've likely heard of pilates, and maybe even snatched a
peek of a class going on at your local gym, but chances are
you're still wondering what exactly it is.
Joseph Pilates fully believed that the mind and body are
dependant upon one another. As such, when he created pilates
he designed it to fully engage the body and the mind.
This is done through a series of controlled, precise movements
that work the muscles
of the abdomen, lower back and buttocks and create flexibility
Classical Pilates Technique - The
Complete Mat Workout Series
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced,
this 75-minute DVD will give you an excellent pilates
workout -- in the style founder Joseph Pilates had envisioned.
Classical Pilates Technique will teach you basic pilates
movements, with a focus on concentration, rhythm, flow
and energy, then lets you choose which level, basic,
intermediate or advance, is right for you.
More About Classical Pilates Technique - The Complete
Mat Workout Series Now!
The movements are done either on floor mats or on special
pilates apparatus that help support and guide the body, and
involve these six core concepts:
Major Benefits of Pilates
Pilates is a popular exercise among dance companies, Broadway
shows, students at performing arts schools and universities,
sports teams, and celebrities because it lends a coveted "long
and lean" look to its followers and creates strength
without adding bulk.
But there is much more to pilates than a slimmer figure.
According to the United States Pilates Association, pilates:
Can be an integral part of physical therapy designed
to speed recovery of soft tissue injuries
Provides body conditioning and injury prevention and
Improves body alignment
Enhances breathing and circulation
Increases strength, flexibility and balance
Improves muscle tone, energy and mental concentration
Is useful for pregnant women to learn proper breathing
and body alignment, improve concentration and recover
body shape and tone after giving birth
How to Learn Pilates
Pilates lends a long, lean look to the body, and adds
strength without creating bulk.
If you are already familiar with pilates, you can perform
the routine right in your own home using a pilates DVD. There
are many to choose from, including one of our classic favorites,
Pilates Technique - The Complete Mat Workout Series.
However, if you have never tried pilates before you may be
better off learning the basic movements directly from an instructor.
Pilates courses are available in group sessions in health
clubs and spas across the country. You can also take pilates
at a specialized pilates center, which may offer group or
one-on-one sessions. Check out this
site from the United States Pilates Association to help
you find a certified pilates instructor near you.
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States Pilates Association
December 6, 2006