Developed by Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a series of muscle-strengthening exercises that use a person’s bodyweight, rather than free weights and weight machines, to develop strength, improve posture and muscle tone, and reduce stress and tension.
Pilates was born in Germany, emigrated to the US almost 100 years ago and was influenced by a wide range of methodologies and sports, including boxing, wrestling and gymnastics. Upon arriving in the US, he established a studio where he taught ‘contrology’, which was what he called his method for over three decades. This helped to establish Pilates as one of the most popular means of improving physical fitness and wellbeing in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries.
What is Pilates?
As mentioned above, Pilates is a series of muscle-strengthening exercises that uses the person’s bodyweight, rather than free weights and weight machines, to develop strength and improve flexibility. While most of the exercises are performed on a mat on the floor, Pilates does use equipment, including pulleys, handles, straps and springs to provide either support or resistance.
The main focus of Pilates is the core, though it also helps to strengthen the arms, legs, chest and shoulders, which means it delivers a full body workout, with an emphasis on strengthening the body in an even way. This means Dianella Pilates classes are great for everyone, regardless of how much exercise experience they have. Though having said that, there are different classes to join, so if you’re interested, be sure to join a beginner’s class before moving on to an intermediate one!
What are the Benefits?
There are many health and wellbeing benefits associated with Pilates, including the following that have helped to make Pilates one of the most popular means of getting in shape around the world.
Lose weight – As Pilates strengthens the muscles, it can help you to lose weight and maintain a healthier bodyweight. However, it should be mentioned that Pilates alone won’t help you to burn fat and lose weight as this will only occur if you combine regular workouts with a balanced diet.
Improve muscle tone – While you won’t gain muscle mass to the same degree as you would if you were working out with weights, Pilates will, however, help you to improve your muscle tone as it’s a series of muscle-strengthening exercises. The core is the target area, but you can also expect to tone your arms and legs as well.
Improve flexibility – This is a notable benefit, one that has plenty to offer everyone from athletes to those who suffer from arthritis. Pilates uses a lot of stretching movements which are the best way to improve flexibility gently by using one’s own bodyweight to provide resistance.
Pilates has been used for some time now but it’s only in the past few decades that it’s seen such an explosion in popularity around the world. People of all ages can use Pilates to lose weight and improve muscle tone, enhance flexibility and posture, and there’s sure to be a Pilates centre located near you!