Joseph Pilates was inspired by yoga, Zen Buddhism, ancient Greek and Roman practices when he developed the Pilates exercise method. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that the movements were perfected.
His method helped World War I veterans cope with physical, mental and emotional stress. Eventually, professional dancers adopted Pilates for strength, flexibility and grace. Today, almost everyone can do Pilates. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with physical challenges can benefit from the exercises.
Pilates movements improve posture, balance, bone density, flexibility, breathing, circulation and concentration. The movements are performed in a controlled way through breathing, balance and focus. Pilates increases core strength by stabilizing abdominal, pelvic, thigh and back muscles. One popular core exercise is the plank. This exercise strengthens deep torso and abdominal muscles and helps with spine alignment. Once you know how to do the plank, it can easily be done at home.
Many basic Pilates exercises require no equipment other than a floor mat. Some exercises require simple equipment such exercise balls, elastic bands, foam rollers and disks. Larger equipment, such as Pilates chairs, barrels and reformers, can be used for alignment and more extensive stretching.
Pilates has increased my level of wellness and I continue to practice the exercises at home or at the gym. In the video below, Ben Parsons, a dedicated Pilates instructor, tells us more on the benefits of Pilates and how the exercises can help people.