What is Pilates?
Pilates aims to strengthen the whole body evenly, with particular emphasis on core strength to improve general wellbeing and fitness. Pilates exercises are often done on a mat. It can also be practiced using special equipment, such as the Reformer, the Cadillac and Wunda Chair. These pieces of apparatus can provide either resistance or support, depending on your needs.
Pilates was developed by German-born Joseph Pilates, who believed mental and physical health were closely connected. His method was influenced by western forms of exercise, including gymnastics, boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling. Pilates emmigrated to the US in the 1920s and opened a studio in New York, where he taught his method – which he called contrology – for several decades.
Pilates is suitable for people of all ages and levels of ability and fitness, from beginners to elite athletes. The apparatus can be used to provide support for beginners and people with certain medical conditions, as well as physical resistance for people looking to challenge their body.
Before starting any exercise programme it is advisable to seek advice from your GP or a health professional especially if you have any health concerns such as a health condition or an injury.
Exercise for Everyone
Pilates exercises are often practiced with simple equipment - a foam mat and a gym ball are all that most people will ever need. However, more advanced equipment is available for those with more advanced needs.
Pilates is often practiced in a group setting, under instruction from a qualified tutor who can carefully guide participants through each of the exercises.