First of all what is Pilates?
You have heard about it, even read about it but you are not sure what it is. Let me correct that WHO it is. Pilates was invented by a chap called Joseph Pilates who overcame illness by inventing a series of exercises which he called Contrology. For more information please click here. There were 34 original exercises which over time have been modified by various different teachers and fitness professionals to suit every fitness level from someone recovering from an illness to a top athlete with body imbalance caused by repetitive exercise. It can be carried out seated in a chair, standing, lying on your tummy, lying on your side, lying on your back, seated on the floor, on a stability ball and using small equipment such as resistance bands and small squashy pilates’ balls etc.
How Does It Work?
Muscles make us move. Every joint in our body has muscles going across it in pairs. In order to move that joint one group of muscles tightens and the opposite stretches. And we now have movement! For various different reasons such as poor posture, repetitive exercise, illness, injury, not moving for long periods of time these muscles become unbalanced leading to loss of cartilage, stiffness, a smaller range of movement and even pain. However if we practice Pilates on a regular basis balance is restored to the body as a whole as each exercise is designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the joints.
What Are The Exercises Like?
In a class situation your instructor will draw up a lesson plan designed to suit the individuals in the class. The exercises are slow and there are very few repetitions. There is a breathing pattern and you engage your core before you move into the exercise. An explanation of the core and the breathing is given here.
In a one to one situation your personal trainer will do a full posture analysis and take a full history of previous exercises, injuries and any illnesses. A home programme will be drawn up from that and taught to you. You then agree a series of appointments to check your progress.
What Should I Wear And Bring To Class?
Always wear unrestricted clothing, layers during the cold weather. We work in socks and can, if safe to do so, work in bare feet. You will need a proper Pilates mat and a small pillow or rolled up hand towel. It is a good idea to bring water with you.