Importance of Pilates Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Pilates: History, Uses and Benefits

Background on Pilates

While other ancient forms of exercise have a more dubious or nebulous history, the beginnings of pilates tend to actually be well-known and well-documented. Joseph Pilates created this form of exercise in the 1920s as a means of rehabilitating individuals, athletes and others who were under great physical strain (Weil, 2014). "Some of the first people treated by Pilates were soldiers returning from war and dancers such as Martha Graham and George Balanchine (to strengthen their bodies and heal their aches and pains)" (Weil, 2014). While pilates has been tweaked and adjusted throughout the years, it still remains a heavily used form of exercise, and stays true to its origins. One of the core tenets of pilates is that it is focused creating an intense amount of strength training, but without creating unnecessary bulk. The pilates method revolves around engaging in a series of controlled movements which are performed on particularly designed spring resistant machines while specially trained instructors oversee one's efforts. Pilates is a form of resistance exercise that raises the heart rate, though at its core, it's a form of strength-training and more like weight-training, than it is like running (Weil, 2014).

Pilates Impact on the Body

As a result of the fact that pilates has such a strong focus on core muscle strength and spinal alignment; the benefits to the overall human body are intense. Also, because pilates has such a strong focus on a harmonious mind-body interaction during the exercise, one is more likely to reap a multitude of benefits during the process.

Mind-Body Harmony

One of the elements of the pilates work-out which makes it so beneficial is the fact that it revolves around a powerful balance between the mind and body. Pilates focuses on correct breathing, along with correct spinal and pelvic alignment, along with the concentration on smooth, flowing movements, allowing one the proper cohesion between mind and body with controlled movement. With pilates, quality of the exercise engaged in is always valued over the number of repetitions involved. Proper breathing is fundamentally essential and helps one engage in movements with the utmost power and effectiveness: it can also help one to minimize stress in one's daily life (pilates.com, 2014).

Benefits to the Core Muscles

One of the primary benefits of pilates is that it can assist one in the development of a strong core: a flat stomach and a strong back are some of the more marked benefits of pilates. "The core consists of the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. Control of the core is achieved by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle" (pilates.com, 2014). This creates a situation where the individual is going to develop, long, lean muscles which are less prone to injury. This means that pilates empowers the individual to develop muscles which are more elongated and strengthened and where flexibility is paramount (pilates.com, 2014).

Many traditional workouts don't focus on the concepts and pillars which make pilates so effective. Traditional workouts generally work the same muscles groups, creating a situation where dominant muscles get stronger, and weaker muscles don't get the same attention and strength. This creates a body where the muscular imbalance is profound and that makes one vulnerable to injury. On the other hand, the overwhelming benefit of pilates is its ability to condition the whole body: the entire musculature and every muscle group are conditioned in a balanced fashion.…

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