What exactly is Pilates?
Pilates is a system of over 500 controlled exercises that engage the mind and condition the total body. It is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training that improves posture, reduces stress and creates long, lean muscles without bulking up. Pilates works several muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous motion, with a particular concentration on strengthening and stabilizing the core (the abdomen, back and pelvic girdle region, referred to as the “powerhouse”).
The focus is on quality of movement rather than quantity, which makes one feel invigorated rather than exhausted after a session. Pilates takes a balanced approach so that no muscle group is overworked and the body works as an efficient, holistic system in sport and daily activity. Pilates exercises can be performed on a mat or on specialized equipment such as a Reformer.
What are the benefits of Pilates?
With regular committed Pilates workouts you can expect to:
- Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk
- Challenge deep abdominal muscles to support the core
- Engage the mind and enhance body awareness
- Efficient patterns of movement making the body less prone to injury
- Reduce stress, relieve tension, boost energy
- Restore postural alignment
- Create a stronger, more flexible spine
- Promote recovery from strain or injury
- Increase joint range of motion
- Improve circulation
- Heighten neuromuscular coordination
- Offer relief from back pain and joint stress
- Correct over-training of muscle groups which can lead to stress and injury
- Enhance mobility, agility and stamina
- Compliment sports training and develop functional fitness for daily life activity
- Improve the way your body looks and feels
What age group is Pilates for?
Pilates can be beneficial for virtually all ages, fitness levels and body conditions. Indeed, one of the beauties of Pilates is that we tailor it to suit each personage and physical condition.
Many of our clients are middle-aged or elderly. Indeed, more than a few start doing Pilates specifically because they have reached ‘a certain age’, realized that they no longer take any exercise and suddenly thought, ‘My goodness, I have to start to do something, or else I’ll fall apart’.
Older clients still might have to ask medical advice before taking up Pilates and to start more slowly. Many people, however, do Pilates into their eighties and nineties. A properly tailored Pilates program is one of the best-known ways to ward off the infirmities of old age. Your true age, in the end, of course, is as much a function of how feel as of the date on your birth certificate. As Joseph Pilates himself put it: ‘If, at the age of 30, you are stiff and out of shape, you are old. If, at 60, you are supple and strong, then you are young.’
Is Pilates mainly for women?
Far from it. Pilates, after all, was invented by a man, Joseph Pilates, originally for his own benefit – and was only later adapted for women. Men, what’s more, tend to be less flexible than women, and so tend to need Pilates even more.
In fact there are countless celebrity devotees of Pilates, from Hugh Grant to Martin Amis, John Cleese, Ian McKellen, and the late Patrick Swayze, and an ever-growing number of famous footballers, rugby players, cricketers and other professional athletes.
What is Mat Pilates?
You will lie on a mat, sit or stand and learn the principles of Pilates. The Pilates principles will be integrated into each exercise. The exercises use your own body weight and should be mortified for your fitness level and become more and more progressive and challenging as you develop awareness, strength, flexibility, coordination, endurance and strength.
What is Reformer Pilates?
The Pilates Reformer is the most well known piece of Pilates equipment. It is a bed like frame with a moveable carriage where a person sits or reclines and does his or her stretching, and is an excellent way of exercising without hurting the joints while strengthening muscles.
What’s better, mat or Reformer Pilates exercises?
It’s not a matter of one being better than another. The fundamental Pilates workout can be performed on a mat alone, and great results can be achieved through beginner, intermediate and advanced moves. However, the various equipment pieces such as the Reformer incorporate light spring resistance that works like concentric and eccentric muscle contractions to safely sculpt, tone and stretch the muscle while providing support that allows you to safely manipulate your body to stretch and engage muscles that are otherwise challenging to isolate. Smaller Pilates equipment pieces such as resistance bands, circles and balls also provide an element of variety and focus to a Pilates regimen.
A complete and satisfying workout can involve exercises on the mat alone or can be combined with various pieces of specially designed Pilates equipment. Each session can offer variety so that no two workouts are alike.
What is Pilates for Golf?
Pilates increases the range of motion, mobility, stability, strength and power, and improves the core strength for control of your swing, posture, balance, coordination, and agility.
Who should I talk to about which Pilates program would be best for me?
Irena will be able to help you decide which program would be best for you.