If you have never tried Pilates and you are looking for a total body workout that will get you energized and fit, you should give it a shot. Pilates is an incredibly effective workout that combines a mind and body connection. You can do it in the comfort of your own home without much equipment, making it not only good for your body and mind, but for your wallet as well.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a total body workout invented by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Pilates is very much like yoga in which you practice poses for long periods of time. But Pilates focuses more on your core body and building strength as compared to yoga. Pilates poses also sometimes include pulsing or repetitive movements while yoga poses are usually sustained for long periods of time. Pilates is an excellent workout because it focuses not only on strength building, but flexibility, breathing, and meditation as well. It was originally invented as a series of mat exercises done without any props. However, as the practice has evolved, props have been added such as rotating disks, resistance bands, exercise balls, weighted balls, and foam rollers. These props can help novice Pilates practitioners guide themselves safely through the poses, and can also help even the most advanced Pilates gurus build strength and increase their flexibility. Pilates is also known to help coordination and endurance.
History of Pilates
As of 2005, 14,000 instructors of Pilates existed in the United States and 11 million people reported practicing Pilates. This incredible number is a testament to the effectiveness of the workout. Joseph Pilates, who believed wholeheartedly that mental and physical health were related, was born in Germany in 1883. In 1934 and 1945, he published two books, Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education and Return to Life Through Contrology, respectively. His method of Contrology is the idea and practice of using the mind to control the muscles of the body. Pilates was originally used by dancers to help them increase their skills, strength, flexibility, and endurance. However, it quickly gained popularity as an effective and inexpensive workout.
How to Do Pilates
The first thing you want to do when starting a Pilates regimen is to focus on your breathing. Breathing and centering your body are important to make the workout the best it can be. This is not only to prevent injury, but also to help strengthen your body. You must also be sure to flow through the poses rather than move choppily through each movement. This will ensure you are working on strength and flexibility as well as muscle coordination throughout the entire workout. Finally, be precise. Precision is the entire point of Pilates. When you perform the movements precisely, you can then achieve flow and strength in the practice.
Best Places for Pilates
Currently, Pilates is immensely popular. You can find classes at many yoga and dance studios because of the benefits Pilates adds to both of those practices. You can also find Pilates classes at gyms and community centers. If you prefer to workout in your home, you can find videos in almost any workout video store, or any store that sells fitness videos. You can also find the props you will need there, such as mats, blocks, balls, and bands, as well. However, it might be a good idea to take at least one class with a trained instructor before you start doing it on your own. Instructors can tell you what you’re doing wrong to avoid injury, while the videos cannot.