Pilates Exercise

Joseph Pilates developed the Pilates technique of body conditioning over 90 years ago. It has long been a method employed by dancers and athletes to prevent muscular imbalances and to maintain proper skeletal alignment.

The technique consists of a series of related exercises performed on a mat as well as apparatus. The principle piece of equipment used in Pilates technique is known as the "Reformer". The Reformer is a machine consisting of a horizontal platform with a movable carriage. The movement of the carriage is controlled by adjustable springs. This allows variable resistance during the exercises, according to an individual's capabilities and needs. In order to enhance total body conditioning, exercises done on the Reformer are performed in various positions including sitting, standing and reclining. During certain exercises, the attached straps are either held in the hands or placed over the feet, thereby expanding the opportunity to work several parts of the body simultaneously. This improves coordination and assists in the proper alignment of the body during movement.

Although the majority of people who practice the Pilates technique do so for fitness benefits, it has also been of significant value to those recovering from injuries.

When the body suffers from chronic injury or sudden trauma, it protects the affected area by compensating or over-compensating with surrounding muscle groups. This often results in imbalances in the use of muscle groups as well as improper skeletal alignment. With time such poor body mechanics can recondition a person's posture and increase the potential for a whole new set of problems. The Pilates technique is effective in counteracting such adverse effects because the exercises focus on both correct alignment and proper muscle integration.

For those interested in fine tuning athletic skills or becoming reacquainted with their bodies, the Pilates conditioning program is ideal. It promotes strength, flexibility, coordination, mental concentration, and the fluidity of movement as seen in professional dancers. The adaptability of the technique to meet an individual's needs makes it a particularly beneficial program for the person rehabilitating from an injury, the one pursuing overall fitness goals, or for those preparing for athletic competitions.



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