What is Pilates?
A system of exercises that tone, strengthen and lengthen your muscles. The Pilates method not only targets the mobilising muscles, but also vital stabilising muscles often neglected by other forms of exercise. What makes it so fantastic is that it is for everyone: young and old, fit and unfit, beginners and advanced.
The benefits of Pilates
- Stronger core stability
- Improved flexibility
- More efficient respiratory and circulatory system
- Greater strength and muscle tone
- A flatter and trimmer waist
- Increased bone density
- Greater joint mobility
- Realign your body
- Better posture
- Look and feel fabulous!
A little about Joseph Pilates
Most people have heard of Joseph Pilates, but for those who haven’t, let me enlighten you. (I’ll make it brief.) Joseph Hubertus (great name!!) Pilates is the creator (and as far as I’m concerned God!!) of the Pilates method.
He was born in Mönchengladbach, a small town in Germany, in 1880. He was a frail child, having suffered a range of conditions including rickets, asthma, and rheumatic fever and he dedicated his entire life to improving his physical strength. In 1912 he moved to England, but after WW1 broke out in 1914, he was interned along with other German nationals in a “camp for enemy aliens” in Lancaster. There he taught wrestling and self-defence. It was here that he began devising his system of original exercises that later became “Contrology”. He was transferred to the Isle of Man, where he gained a reputation as a nurse by helping internees who suffered from wartime diseases. He continued to develop his “Contrology” ideas, devising makeshift exercise aids by attaching bedsprings in various positions, so that patients recovering from injuries could exercise safely. Modern versions of this equipment can be found in Pilates studios to this day. After the war, he returned to Germany and collaborated with important experts in dance and physical exercise such as Rudolf Laban.
In 1925, Joseph Pilates emigrated to the U.S.A. En route to America, he met his future wife Clara. Upon arriving in New York City, they opened a studio, and the rest, as they say, is history! Sadly, in 1967, Joseph Pilates died at the grand old age of 87.
Joseph Pilates quotes.
As well as inventing the best exercise regime in the world, old Joseph Huburtus has left us some pearls of wisdom too:
“It is the mind itself which shapes the body.”
“Physical fitness is the first pre-requisite of happiness.”
“A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.”
“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”