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What is Pilates?

Pilates is a fitness system which was developed by Joseph Pilates about a hundred years ago. The regime has become a very popular one and has numerous benefits. The method is known as the art of controlled movements and aims to create a balance between mind, body, and soul. There are over 11 million people in United States alone who follow the system regularly.

History of Pilates

Joseph Pilates was a German physical culturist who developed a set of exercises that were designed to strengthen both mind and body. As the methods progressed, he included equipment to aid in the process of improving and enhancing the overall strength of a person. This training method aimed to reform the body completely and produce some very noticeable and positive changes in the mind as well. The system came to be known as Pilates after the name of its creator. In the 1920s, Joseph Pilates introduced this method in America as a form of recovery for injured athletes, dancers, and other sports people.
Joseph Pilates published two books related to this set of exercises – Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education in 1934, and Return to Life Through Contrology in the year of 1945.

Different types of Pilates

Pilates can broadly be broken in to two types. Mat and reformer Pilates. Mat Pilates is the more common, it is similar to Yoga in the sense that the exercises rely on body-weight and stretching exercises performed on a mat on the floor. Mat Pilates typically consists of a selection of 40 exercises designed to work on core strength and body weight strength resistance. Reformer Pilates differs from mat Pilates in a core way, the exercises are performed on a spring loaded, carriage-like, floor mounted piece of equipment. This adds resistance and is generally a more intense, fitness based workout.

What are the benefits of Pilates?

Improved control over muscles – the system is designed to enhance the control you have over your mind and body and thus, enhances the amount of control you have over your muscles.

Improved concentration and presence of mind – the system is not only designed to have a better control over the muscles in your body but is also helpful in improving your concentration and how well your brain reacts in certain situations.
Recovery from joint injuries – Pilates is a great way to recover from joint and muscular injuries, enabling you to strengthen quickly. It will help you rehabilitate and become fit and healthy again so you can return back to physical activities.

Stress management – another great advantage one gets from following the Pilates system of exercises is that it helps you relax your mind. Stress can be responsible for various other health complications and by managing it correctly, you can gain more control over your mind, ensuring that health does not degrade. You will learn how to relax your mind and body with Pilates.

A straighter posture – since Pilates exercises focus on stretching and strengthening the muscles of the body, following the regime regularly will lead you to have a straighter, much more aligned posture.
Flexibility – by following the Pilates workout routine regularly, you will notice your body become much more flexible. Enhanced flexibility will minimise the possibilities of getting injured.

Pilates is an interesting path to fitness and health and one you should definitely consider and trail yourself to see if it benefits you.

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