Health / Lifestyle / Poll / Self-Help

3 Ways to Master Pilates

Pilates is a form of physical and mental conditioning that was developed in the early 20th century.

Many people do not like to incorporate an exercise routine into their lifestyle for reasons such as lack of interest, lack of time and unawareness of how to do so. One exercise, Pilates, can be interesting to learn and worthwhile.

A Moment in History

Many hear the term Pilates, but may not know exactly where the term is derived from. Pilates is named after Joseph Pilates. Pilates is a form of physical and mental conditioning that was developed in the early 20th century. He designed a series of mat exercises to help tone and strengthen partially immobilized World War I soldiers.

What else? The exercises are centered around core strengthening and flexibility and are indirectly linked to Yoga and Martial Arts. Pilates referred to his system of exercise as “contrology” because it requires intense concentration for bodily control. It is possible to perform most Pilates exercises with only a floor mat, letting the body act as resistance. Various forms of Pilates also use machines such as the reformer, which provides mechanical resistance.

 Learning New Things

1. How can I delve into Pilates? Books and DVDs are excellent teaching aids and the same holds true for learning Pilates. There are countless DVDs and books to choose from on the subject of Pilates. What can I gain? You will have a solid foundation that can only allow for you to advance with this well-known exercise technique.

2. If you enjoy learning new things in a class setting, you can explore Pilates with an instructor. Be forewarned that Pilates instructor education is costly. So, double-check to make sure that your instructor has completed more than a weekend workshop for their educational certificate. An instructor should have spent a significant amount of time as a Pilates student before becoming a Pilates teacher.

3. Know your skill level and when you are ready to advance to the next stage of Pilates. In other words, promote yourself when you are ready. Some people will stick with a class that no longer is a challenge to them and are waiting for the instructor to suggest to them that they move up. Do not automatically assume that your instructor will promote you. Why? Your instructor may just think that you continue with classes because of the time or location.

Improving Your Overall Health

Like other forms of exercise, finding a way to work Pilates into your day-to-day can offer mental and physical health benefits. A major mental health benefit of practicing Pilates is a reduction in stress. In terms of physical health, Pilates can help improve flexibility, range of motion, balance and posture as well. Not bad at all!

Web Links:

http://pilates.about.com/od/gettingstarted/a/WaysToLearn.htm;

http://pilates.about.com/od/historyofpilates/a/JPilates.htm;

http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/pilates/origins-of-pilates.html;

http://www.livestrong.com/article/357590-what-are-the-benefits-of-yoga-pilates/

-Kimberly Williams

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