28 May CORE CONTROL: PASSION FOR PILATES
It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, a top athlete, young, old, or even if you are pregnant or injured. Pilates is like a wonder-drug, perfect for absolutely everyone, as its exercises can be tailored for any age and capabilities. Just like a medical prescription, Pilates is designed for your specific needs and goals.
Anyone who’s ever tried it will know how much of a positive impact it can have on your physical – and, especially mental – wellbeing.
People that haven’t yet tried it often hold two very common and very large misconceptions: firstly they think it’s easy – it’s really, really not. Even “top” sportsmen are often unable to perform some of the exercises due to insufficient strength of the deeper muscle tissue involved.
Secondly, people think that a couple of “light stretches” here and there will not really get you into shape. Wrong. Pilates is very hard work – if you are doing the movements correctly. In fact the level of concentration involved is so high that it’s pretty much impossible to think about anything else except correct breathing, belly button in, shoulders down, pelvis tilted forward, proper cervical alignment and contracted glute muscles. This makes it very therapeutic, and perfect for forgetting any stress you may have outside the class.
Pilates ‘real name’ is actually Contrology. At least that’s what its founder, the German Joseph Hubertus Pilates called it. He was convinced that poor health was caused by bad posture, inefficient breathing and the pressures of modern-day living and his method, which we know as Pilates, now has millions of devoted fans around the world.
Basically, it’s a series of mat- or equipment-based exercises. Mat-based Pilates is performed on the floor, barefoot, with gravity and your own body weight to provide resistance. Additional equipment such as balls, elastic bands and plastic rings are also used for added resistance. The equipment-based exercises use specially made apparatus that work against spring-loaded resistance. With the help of the machines, muscles are activated and stretched that you never knew you had!
How does it work?
The main aim of Pilates is to strengthen your Core – the muscles in your back, stomach and bottom-. The stronger the muscles in your core, the better your posture will be and the greater your stability. But the other main plus to Pilates is the awareness it brings about your body and your posture, as well as your mind-body connection. Pilates works the entire body with every movement, rather than just one muscle group.
The list of benefits people report is endless. Some of the most common include: Improved posture, stronger core muscles, toned and lean muscles, increased flexibility, better concentration and improved coordination.
Pilates is a low impact workout, meaning that just about anyone can take part. However it is absolutely vital that the exercises are done correctly to prevent you from injuring your back or neck.