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Try it! — Pilates

May 7, 2010

All the stars are doing it, but how many of us really know what Pilates is, what it does, and how to get started with it.  Julia Cooper, Pilates instructor at The Ridge Athletic Club, give us the lowdown on Pilates.

Pilates is an exercise method originally called Contrology, which was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s as he worked with injured soldiers and dancers. Since then it has become popular throughout the world with many populations, including athletes, dancers, seniors, those in physical therapy, and women post-pregnancy. Pilates focuses on gaining strength throughout the “core” (head, neck, back, and abdominals), using the limbs as resistance. The result is the ability to perform any activity with grace, ease, and strength throughout the entire range of motion.

Aesthetic benefits:

  1. Long, lean abdominal muscles
  2. Smaller waist
  3. Toned neck (tighter under jaw)
  4. Toned arms
  5. Toned glutes, thighs, calves
  6. More attractive posture
  7. Grow between 1 and 3 inches in height!

Health Benefits:

  1. Release of tension in shoulders and neck, reduces tension headaches
  2. Heal and prevent back pain
  3. Increased total body strength and stamina
  4. Increased joint mobility, flexibility, and coordination
  5. Establish mental control over your body
  6. Release of toxins in deep core muscles (drink lots of water post-pilates to aid flushing these out!)
  7. Become better and more efficient at EVERYTHING you do! From snowboarding and skiing to gardening, dancing, walking, running, cycling…. You name it! You even get better at sitting!

Pilates is offered at the Ridge through mat classes or with machines. The machines are referred to as the Cadillac and the Reformer, and they are designed to create more or less resistance as they target specific muscles. To get started in pilates it is generally recommended that you first go through a posture analysis with an instructor and have a program designed specifically to address your personal muscular imbalances, which all of us have. An intro class is also recommended. This will teach you the 6 basic principles of pilates: Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath, and Flow. As your strength increases and you master the essentials, you will notice how everyday activities have become easier, and how much better you feel about yourself! It is then time to progress to intermediate and advanced exercises, challenging your body and taking yourself to another level. Get started today!

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