Copyright (c) 2011 Claudel Kuek
Pilates is an innovative mind-body exercise developed by Joseph Pilates as early as the 1920s. Blending eastern exercise philosophies with western fitness science, Pilates is a holistic discipline that improves physiological fitness, and enhances psychological wellness. It combines the mental focus and specific breathing of yoga and Chinese martial arts with the physicality of gymnastics and other sports movements into an entirely new training regime that accentuates controlled grace in power and flowing beauty in movement. Some have described Pilates as “the wave of the future, combining the allure of rebalancing your mind as you fine-tune from head to toe…”
Hollywood celebrities are falling for the Pilates method.. with a strong following from the likes of Madonna, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Sandra Bullock, Gwenyth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Uma Thurman, Kate Hudson, Joan Collins, Jamie Lee Curtis, Elizabeth Hurley, Hugh Grant, Reese Witherspoon, Pippa Middleton.. because Pilates works!
Pilates dramatically transforms the way your body looks, feels and performs. It builds strength without excess bulk, creating a more toned body, slender thighs and waist, and a flatter stomach. The focus on proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth flowing movement help create better awareness of your body.
Pilates is a gentle, low impact exercise routine that strengthens the back and spine, and yet allows a challenging workout. It is popular with pre- and post-natal women. Pilates is so safe, directed and controlled that it is often recommended by chiropractors for the rehabilitation of body joint injuries and by orthopaedists for the treatment of muscle imbalances surrounding the spine.
Dancers appreciate it for the flexibility and agility it develops. Sports persons use it to build strength and endurance. Celebrities and models find that it helps them to maintain their beautiful physique. More than these, Pilates is a refreshing mind-body exercise that relieves stress and anxiety.
Working out in the Pilates method over a period of time will increase your lean muscle mass which helps your body burn more calories, even while you are at rest. As your body is strengthened and lengthened through Pilates, you will find your muscles appear more defined and sculpted in your arms and in your legs.
Through constant emphasis on the engagement of your powerhouse, you will find yourself achieving a smaller waistline, flatter abs and a strong core which helps to protect your back and your spine. Your overall muscle tone will increase, you will feel firmer and fitter, and you will stand taller and with more confidence and poise.
If you are overweight, you will need to combine Pilates with a healthy, low-calorie diet and some cardiovascular exercise to reduce your body fat. Pilates sessions are not sufficiently cardiovascular to achieve significant weight loss except at its more advanced levels.
Alternate your Pilates sessions with a cardiovascular exercise like brisk walking, swimming or dance. Learn to make intelligent food choices. Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits, eat more lean meat, fish and tofu for your dose of protein, and reduce your portions of carbohydrates.
Through Pilates, you can expect to reap these benefits: Enhanced flexibility and coordination; Increased strength and endurance; Improved posture and balance; Lessened aches and pains; Rehabilitation after surgery/injury; More bone and muscle mass; Low-impact pre-natal & post-menopausal exercise; Better circulation and breathing; Toned and sculpted body; Enriched sense of wellness and well-being.