|Prounounced "pih-LAH-tays", the program was developed by Joseph Pilates. The Pilates system of total body and mind conditioning is low impact and safe for those recovering from injury and illness.
The Pilates system works on all muscles of the body in small groups to make the workouts effective and universally conditioning. Most Pilates programs are similar to yoga in their stretching and toning positions and exercises, but there are differences. The focus is on the abdominals and spinal musculature which develops a strong "core." By using Pilates programs, you can tone and strengthen all muscles in the body without bulking up, as with weight training.
Pilates focuses on developing deep breathing techniques which aid in reducing stress, creating a calm inner self, and releasing positive chemicals in the brain and body that contribute to a sense of well-being. By performing these exercises, you will strengthen weak muscles and tone well-developed muscles while relieving stress and tension.
Many Pilates exercises are performed while sitting or laying on the floor. The gentle nature of the programs are reflected in their use by physical therapy and rehabilitation centers nationwide.
While there are several Pilates programs, especially advanced programs, that require the purchase of specialized equipment, most require little or no special purchases. It is recommended that Pilates be demonstrated by a well-illustrated manual or video to achieve the best results. You can also check your local phone listings to locate Pilates studios in your area.
If you are interested in total body conditioning, flexibility, strength, agility, and stress relief, Pilates may be just right for you.