What is Pilates? (puh-la-teez)
Developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s, this method of full body conditioning consists of precisely designed exercises on the mat and various apparatus. Pilates strengthens the deep abdominal and postural muscles that support and stabilize the spine, creating length and strength in the muscles, increased coordination, and proper body alignment.
Utilizing resistance from springs and your own body weight, Pilates develops long, lean muscles rather than short, inflexible ones. It is virtually stress-free on the joints, and therefore is excellent for preventing and rehabilitating injuries and for aging bodies. Pilates engages your mind as well as your body, creating a heightened sense of body awareness and control.
Once the secret weapon of dancers and athletes, Pilates is now widely used by the medical community, physical therapy clinics, and fitness enthusiasts of all types, and has been heralded as one of the best full-body wellness programs available today.
- Diminished or alleviated chronic pain
- Lengthened, strengthened, and toned muscles without bulk
- Heightened athletic performance
- Excellent preparation for and recovery from childbirth
- Improved coordination, balance, and flexibility
- Injury prevention and rehabilitation
- Overall sense of well-being
- Improved immune function
- Correction of postural and muscular imbalances
I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They’d be happier.”Joseph Pilates in 1965, age 86
Who was Joseph Pilates?
Joseph Pilates had a lifelong interest in body conditioning. As a frail child dedicated to becoming stronger, he later grew to become an accomplished skier, diver, gymnast, and boxer.
While interned in England during World War I for his German citizenship, Joseph became a nurse. During this time, he designed exercise apparatus for immobilized patients by attaching springs to hospital beds. This system formed the foundation for his style of body conditioning and specialized exercise apparatus, which he brought to New York City when he opened the first Pilates StudioTM in 1926.