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Exercise Facts - Pilates

Developed from the rehabilitation techniques of Joseph Pilates, the Pilates method is a unique system of specific, linked exercises coupled with focused breathing patterns, often described as a cross between yoga, stretching and calisthenics.

What Muscles You Work:

  • Enhances "core" strength and flexibility in muscles of the abdomen, back and legs.
  • Increases lung capacity and circulation through deep, healthy breathing.
  • Improves posture, balance, agility, economy of motion, bone density and joint health.
  • Helps prevent sports-related injuries by promoting muscular balance.
  • Creates positive body awareness.

Tips to Improve Your Pilates Workout:

  • Qualified instruction is helpful. If you belong to a gym or health club, check the aerobics schedule to see if Pilates is offered.
  • Be sure to focus on technique and form: proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and complete concentration on smooth, flowing movements.
  • Each Pilates exercise may be modified to allow for a range of difficulty ranging from beginner to advanced. Create a workout that best suits you now, and then increase the intensity gradually as your body conditioning improves.
  • Stay in the moment to get the most out of your Pilates workout!

How Not to Get Hurt:

  • Pilates is considered a very safe and gentle exercise system since many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight bearing.
  • As with any new exercise program, start out slowly and only go as far as your body will allow. Gently work up to the more difficult exercises and be mindful of what you're doing.

Essential Equipment:

  • Pilates exercises may be done using a floor mat or with specially designed equipment.
  • Most Pilates classes have been adapted to the floor mat and may use equipment such as a ring, band or ball.
  • Specially designed Pilates equipment can be found in health clubs, gyms or Pilates studios and can be thought of as a cushy pad on rollers. You use straps to move the pad, using your own body to strengthen and lengthen your arms and legs, as well as your core abdominal and back muscles.
  • Although you don't need special equipment to get a good workout, using special Pilates equipment may enhance your workout by helping you take advantage of your own body as resistance.
  • If you don't have Pilates classes or studios in your city, or you want to workout at home, then try a video!
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