Pilates is an exercise system which works to increase your physical fitness and muscle strength.
The main focus of Pilates is core strength, the belief being that strong stomach and lower back muscles will support the rest of the body and give the best foundation for all kinds of physical activity. The second focus is on the breath and also an awareness of the positioning of the spine.
To watch a Pilates class it would not seem like the exercise is hard work, it involves a series of stretches and small movements which strengthen the torso. However, join a Pilates class and you will find out it is much more difficult than it looks! Don’t be discouraged, Pilates is very rewarding both for the physical benefits and the calmness of mind it can bring.
Pilates is designed to bring both increased physical health and fitness as well as mental balance for those who take part. Increased strength to the stomach and back means your spine and rest of the body is supported. If you have back pain or other problems, you may find Pilates helps remedy this. You are less likely to injure yourself, will have better posture and greater muscle strength.
Both breath and concentration are thought to bring enhanced mental clarity, in a similar fashion to exercises such as yoga and tai chi. Those who take part in Pilates often comment that they feel refreshed afterwards and less stressed in their day to day lives.
You will find studio Pilates classes being held in gyms and fitness studios all around Australia, and in fact the around the world. There are also specialised Pilates studios in operation as well.
There are two distinct styles of Pilates you can choose from; studio Pilates sometimes known as mat Pilates and reformer Pilates. Studio Pilates takes place in a group exercise studio and is performed on a mat, much in the same fashion yoga is. You may use some additional equipment like the magic circle and weighted balls. Pilates mat was the original Pilates system which consisted of a series of thirty four exercises, reformer Pilates was created later.