Pilates, the Art of Contrology

By: Shannon Brown

Pilates is an exercise technique, which encourages the mind to control the muscles by strengthening the powerhouse. In Pilates, the powerhouse resides in the middle of the body such as the abdomen, lower back and buttocks.

You will need to support and strengthen the powerhouse to enable the rest of the body to move freely.

Pilates is an exercise that you will perform while sitting or lying down. Thus, it is best for rehabilitation purposes especially for patients with injuries and those that are bedridden.

Initially, Joseph Pilates, the German national who discovered Pilates used this exercise to train police officers. Police officers perform this exercise in 1912 as a means to rehabilitate themselves after a long day of work.

Joseph Pilates also designed Pilates Cadillac, an exercise equipment patterned from an old hospital bed. He did this precisely for the purpose of teaching rehabilitating patients confined in bed and for those officers who are down from injury.

The exercises in pilates avoids too much repetition unlike other exercises do. This exercise uses fewer, but precise movements. These movements employ control and form. These exercises also reduce stress that regular exercise can do for the heart. It is thus safe for older exercisers and even for injured patients.

In almost five hundred exercises in pilates, the most frequent form is the mat work. The mat work involves a series of callisthenic motions without weight or apparatus and are done while lying down.

Additionally, Joseph Pilates believes that mental health and physical health are essential to one another, thus he creates this exercise program based on the belief that a total body conditioning is necessary and beneficial. Total body conditioning emphasizes proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, muscle tone, body awareness, energy and improved mental concentration. These words are the backbone of pilates.

Pilates focuses on the use of the mind to control the body, thus Joseph Pilates who lived his youth with asthma, rickets, rheumatic fever, overcame poor health and grew to be a body builder, diver, skier and a gymnast.

After which, in 1912, he worked in England as a boxer, circus performer and self-defense trainer. You will of course agree with me that this is quite odd for a sickly kid.

This therefore shows that the mind can be more powerful than the muscle. Following this belief, pilates practitioners use their body as weights in training to build strength and flexibility without focus on high-powered cardiovascular exercise.

You will not need to perform those rigorous exercises that put strain in your cardiovascular zone as other exercises do.

Pilates and the environment it evolves in is as an assistive environment that optimizes the acquisition of movement with a reduction of destructive forces. These exercises can be used to progress individuals through more challenging movements that represent day-to-day activities.

In fact, these exercises are an old approach to movement re-education that is coming to be important in physical fitness and rehabilitation from injury.

The method of performing Pilates especially for beginners consist of very gentle exercises done with a mat while sitting down or lying down. It focuses on awareness of the spine, proper breathing, core strength and flexibility.

The desired outcome of Pilates is a balanced body, which is strong and supple, flat stomach, balanced legs and strong back.

In today’s time, physical therapists use these exercises and techniques to help in the rehabilitation of injured patients. Only quite a few use pilates for general health and well-being, this however needs to change because Pilates offers more than just a cure for sick patients, it is in fact helpful for those overweight individuals who cannot find ways and means to lose weight and control their body.

It may be helpful to try Pilates if you want to be healthy and active.

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Shannon Brown is the editor of PilatesFactor.com. This site caters to Pilates enthusiasts. You can visit the site at: www.PilatesFactor.com

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