What is Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise method that was developed by Joseph Pilates and his wife Clara in the early 1900s. According to Raels book called Pilates Anatomy “Pilates is a system of physical and mental conditioning that can enhance physical strength, flexibility, and coordination improve mental focus reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing”. Joseph Pilates developed the system of exercise by reviewing yoga text books and studying animal movements while as a prisoner of war in an internment camp during world war I. Joseph believed bad posture and general sickness could be attributed to lack of movement, lack of muscle development and lack of mental engagement therefore he developed a movement system that he thought would cure all ailments. He believed that there is an interrelated connection between mental and physical health.

What to expect:

  1. The exercises are typically low-impact that focuses on strengthening global musculature while improving postural alignment and flexibility.
  2. Pilates focuses on body control as well as stability. The exercise’s main goal is to improve core strength, move the spine in all directions with emphasis on breathing, and motor control
  3. Pilates can be performed with or without equipment
    • Typical equipment you could see would be Pilates rings, Pilates balls, including but not limited to dumbbells
  4. It also could be performed on the floor on a mat or on a reformer.
    • Mat exercise offer the ability to use body weight or some of the above-mentioned equipment to improve mobility and function
    • A reformer is a specifically designed equipment with springs, sliding platform with the goal to strengthen specific muscles

Can I participate if I have pain?

  1. There have been studies that show Pilates to be effective in helping with flexibility, pain, balance and strengthening
    • In some patients with low back pain there is found alterations in muscle activation and sequencing in trunk muscle activation
  2. Pilates could offer assistance in improve lumbopelvic control, facilitate breath control, as well as engage abdominals and pelvic floor muscles

    • Pilates has even shown beneficial effects on mental health.
  3. A Meta-analysis in 2018 found a reduction of depression, anxiety, fatigue, and increase in energy in those who practice Pilates