(WFN) It’s 7 AM on a Wednesday and Pat Miles is getting ready for another busy day at the office. But before she butters her toast and kicks her day into high gear she heads into her den and pops a DVD into the player. It’s time for her morning Pilates workout.
Pilates popularity has exploded in the last several years in gyms, YMCA’s, schools and rec rooms across the country. Pilates originated in Germany and was developed by Joseph Pilates who believed that mental and physical health were inseparable elements of wellness. Pilates uses precise movements to stretch, strengthen and stabilize the muscles of the body with an emphasis on breathing and focused movements particularly around the abdomen. Today, millions of men and women work out using these intense exercises and there are thousands of instructors trained in taking them through their paces. The idea is to strengthen the core muscles of the torso and have the energy flow out from them to the extremities.
Pilates demands intense focus – there are no sloppy, uncontrolled movements. Movement is expected to be kept continuous between exercises through the use of fluid transitions. Once precision has been achieved, the exercises are intended to flow within and into each other in order to build strength and stamina. In this way Pilates closely resembles the movements in Yoga or Tai Chi.
“What I like about Pilates” says Ms. Miles, “is that it helps to focus my mind as well as tone my body. I get an excellent workout to be sure and it helps me stayed toned and strong, but I really like that when I finish my session I feel more alert throughout my entire day.” Although she used to work out at a gym, the demands on her time made the convenience of working out at home almost mandatory. “The pressure at work has only gotten greater in the last couple of years and I need to keep in shape, not just for my physical health but for my own peace of mind. Though I love to go to the gym I find that I can get a great workout at home and save myself a little time, and believe me – that time is precious! I’ve done all sorts of exercise tapes in the past, including Buns of Steel, Jane Fonda’s Workout and Cathy Smith but when I discovered Pilates I felt I was getting a more complete workout experience.”
Pilates usually requires the use of special machines to get the proper stretch and tension but Pilates also developed a series of floor exercises, or matwork, to achieve the desired effect and complement the machine work. Contemporary Pilates instructors use props like balls and bands to intensify the movements of the floor exercises and these are available at most sporting goods stores and on line.
Source (article): WORLDFITNESSNEWS
Source (picture): SWEETSAMBA