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A Quick History of Pilates

Joseph Pilates developed Pilates after starting life as a frail child determined to change his fate. He was born in 1880 and moved from Germany to the UK in 1912. On moving to America in 1923, he opened a studio in New York where he could teach his own exercise routine to movie stars, models, and everyday people. Joseph called his approach Contrology, a title that later developed into Pilates. His system focused on strengthening the body’s core, which is the basis of any good physical training program. Joseph Pilates didn’t design a rigid set of rules or methods which means there are many ways to do Pilates exercises. It truly is a flexible program that anyone, regardless of fitness level, can practice.

Six Incredible Benefits of Pilates

The remarkable benefits of Pilates are defined by the 6 Principles of Pilates. Here’s the basic six benefits they may provide for your health:

• Centering

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• Concentration

You cannot do Pilates exercises mindlessly. All movements require that you focus on your actions; breathing and posture are the two most emphasized areas. The ability to concentrate is one of the most beneficial skills for physical fitness and everyday life. Concentration is necessary to thrive in your chosen vocation, helping hone your vision and execute goals successfully. Pilates can provide an avenue through which you can strengthen your concentration, which will certainly benefit every aspect of your life.

• Control

The word “control” comes up again and again during a Pilates practice. Control during a fitness routine generally means focusing your mind on maintaining control over your muscle movements and not allowing yourself to become lazy. Control is often intertwined with centering and concentration, as all are necessary for maintaining mental control over your muscles. All the benefits stem from learning to control of your body during and after a practice. Controlling your body and its urges is the beginning of enjoying a mindful, healthy life.

• Metabolic Support

Exercise, including Pilates, works as a natural weight loss tool by increasing metabolic rate. Pilates has shown to promote weight loss by boosting muscle mass, increasing metabolism, and decreasing anxiety. The last benefit is crucial, especially for stress eaters. Alternating Pilates with yoga, strength training, and even traditional cardio workouts is helpful for long-term, natural, weight loss.

• Strength and Flexibility

Push up poses, lunges, and balancing poses all aid in improving strength in the upper and lower body. This strength must be maintained throughout your lifetime if you expect to live an independent lifestyle well into old age. Over time, Pilates movements promote flexibility in muscles and joints in a similar way as yoga. Flexibility is extremely important for preventing injuries, especially if you’re athletic. The relaxation effect of Pilates helps to create flexibility in the mind, as well. In a way, Pilates is meditation that promotes deep breathing, awareness of the present moment, and a stronger sense of self.

• Flow

In Pilates, all exercises are performed in an elegant, flowing manner. There’s no jerky movements, no awkward positions that cause pain. All movement is designed to promote ease and well being in the body. Often, Pilates is seen to reflect one’s inner thoughts and feelings. Someone who feels off kilter may have trouble with balancing poses, and someone who has rigid thoughts or feelings may find that they have difficulty with physical flexibility. Pilates is designed to provide more flow–in thoughts, feelings, and actions–by promoting ease in breathing, movement, and thinking.

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