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The Benefits of Pilates by Kim Woolley

Pilates is an exercise system that was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s to help strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and improve overall health. This movement system was designed to deliver the ultimate full body workout in a gentle and effective manner. It transforms the way your body looks, feels and performs. Pilates lengthens muscles as they are strengthened, yet without excess bulk. It helps improve tone, flexibility, coordination and balance and makes the body less prone to injury. Pilates also reduces stress, relieves tension and boosts energy through deep stretching. It increases joint motion, improves circulation and enhances mobility, agility and stamina.

Strengthening Your Core

Pilates conditions the whole body. The method aims to strengthen your core by strengthening the important abdominal and back muscles, lengthening your spine, building muscle tone and increasing body awareness. No muscle group is over trained or under trained. Strength in the center of the body, our powerhouse, enables all other parts to operate more easily. We start to move differently and develop new relationships with our bodies. People who do Pilates have better alignment throughout their whole body and improve their sitting and standing postures. It can help alleviate chronic low back pain and correct imbalances in the body.

All exercises are developed with modifications that can make a workout safe for a person at any age or fitness level. It is a great practice to do alone or as a supplement to other methods of exercise.

Methods of Pilates

Pilates exercises are done using a mat or a variety of equipment. The machines work against resistance and help your body learn how to work more efficiently. This allows for different exercises to be modified in ranges from beginner to advanced. Movement on the machines can be fun and challenging.

Because Pilates requires mental focus, it helps connect the mind to the body. It allows the body to move more freely and efficiently. Pilates connects us to our breath. Breathing is foremost. We need to breathe fully and efficiently to nourish the body, relax the muscles and focus the mind. One of the reasons Pilates is so effective is it can be tailored to meet the individual’s needs. Pilates is not just an exercise, it is a way of life. With regular practice people will start to see how Pilates will translate into their everyday activities. The result is better posture, greater energy and an ability to better cope with day to day stresses.

People who practice Pilates often say, “I feel taller”, “My backs feel better”, “I feel stronger”, “I have more energy” and “I feel calmer”. When people start to make the mind-body connection they will notice the difference while driving, cooking, running, walking etc… This is because Pilates works from the inside out. Pilates is more than just doing the exercise. It is using your mind to control the movements. Its emphasis on coordinating breath and movement encourages concentration and a balanced mind and body.

Pilates is for everybody. Men and women may have different goals in their practice but both will feel their bodies working as a whole in a very focused, concentrated way. Pilates works.

Kim Woolley is the owner of Inspire Pilates and Fitness which is located at 135 East Erie Street, Suite #5 in Blauvelt. For more information, call 848-2380 or visit

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