Pilates is a system of exercise that focuses on balance, posture, strength and flexibility. Developed by German physical trainer and keen gymnast Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, it was originally dubbed ‘Contrology’ as pilates is all about toning, streamlining and realigning the body centred around our ‘powerhouse’. This is the area from the bottom of the ribs to the hips, including the abdominal muscles, lower back muscles, pelvic floor, muscles around the hips and glutes – our central core of muscles that work together to form a supportive ‘corset’ around our vital organs.
With systematic practice of specific exercises combined with focused breathing patterns, Pilates has proved itself invaluable not only for fitness, but also as an important adjunct to professional sports training and physical rehabilitation of all kinds. As well as improving strength and flexibility, particularly of the abdomen and back muscles, it benefits co-ordination, posture, balance and core strength. Many people experience body awareness and learn how to breathe properly for the first time, and by achieving balance and control of the body that capacity often spills over into other areas of your life.