Not many people know that Joseph Pilates, the man behind Pilates, was extremely unfit and unhealthy himself.
He decided he needed to perform exercises that would strengthen his body and core without causing injuries. So, he came up with an exercise (that is primarily meant to heal and is done on a mat) based on movements suggested by his physiotherapist.
Pilates has a dedicated fan following among many A-list Hollywood celebrities. Jennifer Aniston, Miley Cyrus, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow regulalry use Pilates to get toned and fit.
I believe that fitness is a must for everyone, and what better way than Pilates to get the body leaner and fitter. While studying at The American College of Sports Medicine, I became interested in understanding the various forms of exercise that would help people in India get fitter, as obesity is a growing epidemic in our country. Pilates immediately caught my eye, and I ended up meeting many people in the fitness industry to learn more about its uses and benefits. After hearing the positives, I was convinced this is exactly what Mumbai needed.
The USP and Benefits of Pilates is that if a person cannot exercise due to a back injury then Pilates can help him/her get back on their feet since one can do Pilates while lying on their back. Pilates strengthens your core muscles and helps you get a better posture, which is extremely important if you have a weak back/ spinal cord. With Pilates, you exercise all the muscle groups including the small muscles, which tends to get ignored while weight training.
Pilates is great for people with injuries, weak muscles and particularly bad posture because it encourages you to strengthen your problem areas in a relaxed and low impact way. The principles used in Pilates are some of the same principles used in the rehabilitation of many common orthopaedic problems. So, Pilates is being used in the prevention and rehabilitation of these orthopaedic problems.
Who should try Pilates :
There is no age bar for Pilates as this is the safest form of exercise that we have. It is risk free, and safe, hence recommended for people with weak muscles. Keep in mind that those who are obese will not lose weight by only doing Pilates and they need to supplement it with other forms of exercise.
Do you need other exercises along with Pilates:
Pilates does not give you cardio vascular benefits, it is an addition to your exercise. Pilates is not a weight bearing exercise as it focuses on your core strength-back, abs and hips. Pilates can be practiced 3 times a week. Like any other exercise one has to do a doing a warm up and cooling down before starting Pilates. By doing Pilates one exercises all their muscle groups including the neck muscles. While gymming people tend to bulk up by doing various types of techniques e.g.-using weights, heavy machinery etc. Pilates on the other hand does not tend to give you a bulky look, instead it tones the muscles and gives you a toned physique.
Pilates can be practiced in two ways, one in the gym, which can be practiced on the Reformer. Doing Pilates on the reformer helps to do various types of elongating, lengthening and stretching exercises on the machine. One would also need a specialised trainer to help him/her use this machine, and requires a trained eye to see if the Reformer is being used correctly. Practicing Pilates at home can be done by using a mat, which can be done alone with a trained professional.