Fitness in the spotlight – Pilates

Training

Posted on December 06, 2010 by Kim Mead

Many women over 40 lead a very hectic routine and the stress that comes with leading this type of lifestyle can make it difficult to control your weight.

In our twenties, our bodies can deal with living a lifestyle that is less than healthy yet once we pass 40, it’s an entirely different story. After 40, the body’s ability to recover from any form of abuse lessens and weight loss can become an even tougher challenge. The good news is a lifestyle change will make you look and feel better than ever before.

Pilates is a fantastic way to tone and strengthen your core muscles. It was developed in the early 20th Century by Joseph Pilates, who called his method Contrology as he believed mental and physical healths are essential to one another – his method uses the mind to control the muscles.

Pilates focuses on the core postural muscles which help keep the body balanced and which are essential to providing support for the spine.

“The Pilates Principles” aim to condition the entire body:

Breathing

Correct breathing charges the blood with oxygen which circulates so that it can awaken all the cells in the body and carry away the wastes related to fatigue. Full and thorough inhalation and exhalation are a part of every Pilates exercise. Proper and effective breathing not only oxygenates the muscles, but also reduces tension in the upper neck and shoulders.

Centering

Centering is finding and maintaining optimal alignment of the body and supporting this by engaging a ‘core’ sling of deep muscles in the trunk.

Concentration

Pilates demands intense focus. Careful attention should be paid to body awareness, building on very small, delicate fundamental movements and controlled breathing.

Isolation

It is essential to have the ability to isolate each joint movement in the body efficiently before integrating them into functional elegant movements.

Control

Joseph Pilates built his method on the idea of muscle control – no sloppy, uncontrolled movements.

Precision

Every movement in the Pilates method has a purpose. Every instruction is considered vitally important to the success of the whole. The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones.

Flow or efficiency of movement

Movement is expected to be kept continuous between exercises through the use of appropriate transitions. Once precision has been achieved, the exercises are intended to flow within and into each other in order to build strength and stamina.

Routine

Routine is required to enable the precision of grace and economy of movement to eventually become second nature, and carry over into everyday life.