Pilates exercise

What is Pilates and who benefits most from it?

What is Pilates?

Pilates is usually described as an exercise program that targets the core. While this is true it is a whole-body workout. Pilates focuses on giving the body particular energy all while working to strengthen it from head to toe. 

Yoga vs Pilates

As Pilates is a mat-based exercise program it has some similarities to yoga. However, they are very different in their philosophies and practice.  

Yoga was developed over 5000 years ago in India and has a more holistic, philosophical approach. Practicing Yoga can include:

  • Meditation
  • Increasing flexibility
  • Improving energy
  • Understanding that the mind, body, and spirit are all connected

Whereas Pilates was created in the early 1900s by Joseph Pilates using more rehabilitative exercises to heal the body. Pilates core principles focus on control, centering, concentration, precision, breathwork, and creating fluidity in the body. More specifically Pilates works to:

  • Improve core strength and stability
  • Improve posture and balance
  • Improve flexibility
  • Prevent and help treat back pain

Who Pilates specifically benefits:

Pilates can help benefit everyone as it works to prevent stiffness in the body and allows the body to move with ease. Sometimes with age and prolonged sitting (hi there quarantine), we can create poor movement patterns in the body. Pilates targets many of the intrinsic/small muscles in the body to promote agility, full-body strength, optimal aging, and mobility. 

The following are examples of how Pilates can benefit specific individuals:

Postpartum women – helps to build strength through the abdominal core in a safe manner. Pilates works to reduce and heal diastasis recti and prevent it from recurring. 

Seniors – builds balance and strengthens stabilizing muscles in the foot, hips, and core to prevent trips and falls. In addition, since Pilates is a low-impact weight-bearing exercise program it is ideal for seniors who may be suffering from osteoporosis or osteopenia. It also works to maintain bone density (or improve) bone density.  

Back Surgery and Rehab – Pilates is excellent to build strength in the body after back surgery. Since the exercises focus on building core and back strength it is ideal for the rehabilitation phase. 

Runners, Athletes, and Active Adults – Pilates works on alignment and keeping the muscles in the body balanced. As we move, we can develop compensatory movement patterns in our bodies causing some muscles to fire and others to lay dormant. Athletes or active adults may notice injuries and pain in the body with incorrect movement patterns. Pilates is an excellent choice to keep the muscles in our body in harmony and moving with fluidity. 

We all have a different reason why we practice Pilates. Regardless of your lifestyle or activity level including Pilates into your weekly schedule helps to make everyday activities easier and perform at your best. 

Christine Kirkland is a certified Pilates instructor offering Online Pilates classes proven to help you move better and feel better. Let’s get moving, shall we? To learn more please click here.


Pilates Return to Life through Contrology

Pilates or Yoga [Infographic]



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