Pilates (;) is a fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, after which he was named. Pilates called his method “Contrology”. It is practiced all over the world and especially in Western countries like Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2005, 11 million people practiced the discipline regularly and 14,000 instructors in the United States. There is only limited evidence to support the use of Pilates to relieve low back pain, or improve balance in the elderly. Data from studies show that while Pilates improves balance, there is little data on the impact of this method on falls among older adults. Pilates has not been shown to be an effective treatment for any medical condition. There is evidence that regular Pilates sessions can help muscle conditioning in healthy adults, compared to not exercising.

In his book Back to Life by Contracy, Joseph Pilates presents his method as the art of controlled movements, which should look and feel like a workout (not a therapy) when properly manifested. If practiced consistently, Pilates improves flexibility, strengthens strength, and develops control and endurance throughout the body. It focuses on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core and improving coordination and balance. The core, consisting of the muscles of the abdomen, lower back and hips, is often called the “central” and is considered the key to a person’s stability. The Pilates system allows you to modify different exercises in the difficulty range, from beginner to advanced or at any other level, and also in terms of specific goals and / or limitations of the instructor and the practitioner. The intensity can be increased over time as the body adapts to the exercises.

Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates of Mönchengladbach, Germany. His father was a gymnast and his mother a naturopath. During the first half of the twentieth century, he developed a system of exercises designed to strengthen the human mind and body. Pilates believed that mental and physical health were interdependent. In his youth, he had practiced many of the physical training regimens available in Germany, and it was from these that he developed his own method. He has obvious links to the physical culture of the late nineteenth century, such as the use of special devices, and says that exercise could heal poor health. He is also linked to the tradition of “corrective exercise” or “medical gymnastics” as characterized by Pehr Henrik Ling. Pilates said inspiration for his method came to him during the First World War while he was being held at the Knockaloe Internment Camp on the Isle of Man. He developed his method for four years, working on his fellow internees. Joseph Pilates accompanied his method with a variety of equipment, for which he used the term “device”. Each device has been designed to help accelerate the process of stretching, strengthening, body alignment and strengthening of core strength started with carpet work. The most famous and popular apparatus today, the reformer, was originally called the Universal Reformer, aptly named to “universally reform the body”. Finally, Pilates designed other devices, including the Cadillac, the Wunda chair, the “electric” high chair, the spine corrector, the ladle barrel and the Pedi-Pole. Pilates has published two books related to his training method: Your Health: A Corrective Exercise System That Revolutionized the Entire Field of Physical Education in 1934 and the Return to Life by Controlling in 1945. His first students were then taught her methods including: Romana Kryzanowska, Kathy Grant, Jay Grimes, Ron Fletcher, Maja Wollman, Mary Bowen, Carola Treir, Bob Seed, Eve Gentry, Bruce King, Lolita San Miguel, and Mary Pilates, Joseph’s niece. Contemporary Pilates includes both “modern” Pilates and “Classical / Traditional” Pilates. Modern Pilates is partly derived from the teaching of some first generation students, while Classical Pilates aims to preserve the original work as taught by Joseph Pilates.

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