"Pilates is a body conditioning work out that integrates both the mind and body through spring weight resistance. The brilliance of the springs is that you work with supple rather than static resistance, relieving pressure on the joints.
The work, in the Joseph Pilates Method, emanates from the core or "powerhouse," the muscles surrounding the abdomen, lower back and buttock. The purpose of the work is to maintain a uniformly developed body, with a sound mind, that is able to perform daily tasks with "ease, spontaneous zest and pleasure." Pilates is the balance of stretch, strength and control.
What are the health benefits of pilates?
There are many reports on the health benefits of pilates. However, few of these have been subjected to rigorous scientific examination and there's a need for more research in this area. Practitioners say regular pilates practise can help improve posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension. For elite athletes, including dancers, pilates can complement their training by developing whole body strength and flexibility, and help reduce the risk of injury.
Can pilates help reduce back pain?
There's some evidence that pilates can provide pain relief to people with non-specific lower back pain. The use of apparatus enables someone with back pain to perform exercises with support. For the exercises to be effective, they need to be tailored to the individual and vetted by an appropriately qualified health professional. Pilates teachers are not medically qualified and cannot prescribe, treat or offer therapy.
Can pilates help me lose weight?
Pilates is classed as a muscle-strengthening activity, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. Classes can vary in intensity: they can be gentle, or dynamic and offer a solid workout. If you want to lose weight, you're advised to combine pilates with a healthy diet and some aerobic activities, such as swimming, walking and cycling.