BENEFITS OF PILATES
In his book Return to Life through Contrology, Joseph Pilates presents his method as the art of controlled movements, which should look and feel like a workout (not a therapy) when properly manifested. If practiced with consistency, Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control and endurance in the entire body. It puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance. The core, consisting of the muscles of the abdomen, low back, and hips, is often called the "powerhouse" and is thought to be the key to a person's stability. Pilates' system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginner to advanced or to any other level, and also in terms of the instructor and practitioner's specific goals and/or limitations. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.
Mr Pilates was a stickler for form, saying, “A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.” Clara, on the other hand, was known as the kinder teacher, who would focus more on the flow of the movements.
HISTORY OF THE WORKOUT
Once they were in the gym, he or Clara would give them a personalized workout, which they were expected to memorize and do on their own each time they visited the gym. If they weren’t able to memorize it, they could follow all with the photos of the exercises that Joseph had hanging all over the gym. Almost every inch of wall was covered with small, black and white photos of Joe demonstrating exercises on all his equipment, in a particular order and in perfect form.
Joseph Pilates’ vision was that everyone in the world would someday do his corrective exercises, every day.
THE GENUIS OF PILATES… AND WHY THE EQUIPMENT IS SO SPECIAL
The genius of how the Pilates Method works lies in the balance between resistance and assistance in every exercise. When using the apparatus, the springs work by offering weighted resistance to the movements, as well as assistance by guiding the body through the exercises in balance and alignment. As soon as a body is out of alignment or not working with coordination, the springs slack, or begin to wobble. With practice, students learn to work with the springs to create balanced movement. With the matwork, the body must create resistance against gravity and imagine the feel of the springs when there aren’t any at all. This is why Joe described his method as, “Corrective, resistance balance” exercises.
HOW DOES PILATES ENHANCE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND MAY HELP TO FIGHT AGAINST DISEASES?
Stress and anxiety have negative effects on the immune system. “Physical activity is the first pre-require to happiness” said Joseph Pilates. Exercise help to release the “extra” energy or stress accumulated. When we exercise, we don’t think about anything else as we are focussing on the movement and correct technique. From a scientific point of view, when practicing exercise, brain releases endorphin, which is known as the hormone of happiness. Recent research has shown that endorphins released through exercise increase the number, percentage and effectiveness of the immune cells.
HOW DOES PILATES BENEFIT THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Regular practice of Pilates reduces irritation within the gut. Exercises based on lengthening the spine and extending torso help to relieve compression on the internal organs, which may help to prevent digestive problems by stretching the digestive track. Many Pilates exercises have a massage effect on the organs, which help to remove toxins and waste on the digestive tract. One of the great exercises known for that is the “stomach massage”.
HOW PILATES BENEFITS ON THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM?
Breathing improves the flow of oxygen in the body. Most of the people breathe from the chest, this means that they only use about 1/3rd of their lung capacity. Pilates thoracic breathing uses lung full capacity (more oxygen is brought to the lower lobes of the lungs). By extending more the air capacity in the lungs, Pilates breathing brings more oxygen to muscles. Slow and deep breathing decreases stress and increases relaxation, which can also help to reduce blood pressure.
HOW PILATES BENEFITS THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM?
Pilates deep breathing and muscle contractions activate the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system has many functions such as carrying toxins and other wastes away from the body, supporting immune system or delivering oxygen, nutrients and hormones to the body’s cells. Lymphatic system does not have any particular organ acting as a pump but depend on muscles contraction and breathing. The more we move, the more lymph is circulating faster.
HOW PILATES BENEFITS THE CARDIO-VASCULAR SYSTEM?
Pilates breathing releases stress, which is good for the heart. Besides that, Pilates fluidity of movement improves muscle stretch. Knots appear on tight muscles, and these are blocking blood flow. When muscles are stretched, knots are released and blood circulation improves. Relaxed muscles (muscles without tear, trigger points or tiredness) are moving easily through a full range of motion. Moving easily requires less effort for the body and gives less pressure on the heart.