Over the next five weeks we are going to be looking at five different sports and exercises: Pilates, Yoga, Karate, Tai Chi and Taekwondo all of which apart from Pilates originate from countries in Asia.
Week 1: Pilates
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise which concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength. This helps to improve general fitness and all over well - being. Similar to Yoga, Pilates concentrates on posture, balance and flexibility. In Pilates the chance of injury is much lower then other more strenuous forms of exercise. Pilates also focuses on the mind - body connection. While doing the various exercises your mind needs to be constantly aware of your breathing and the way your body moves.
This form of exercise was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany where he was a carpenter and gymnast. He invented Pilates an exercise program for injured dances and soldiers while living in the UK. Joseph Pilates believed that physical and mental health were closely connected.
What are the health of Pilates?
1. Good posture - Pilates will teach you to gain and maintain good posture. The exercises require that your body is always in alignment.
2. Muscle tone - The exercises involve the use of muscles that you may not use on a daily basis. After the initial soreness, you'll find that your muscles will be much more toned.
3. Flat abdominal muscles - Because Pilates focuses on strengthening the core which includes your abdominal muscles.
4. Flexibility - As we get older we tend to lose the flexibility we had when we were young. Pilates will restore your flexibility, gently at first of course. After a while though, you will be amazes at how much more flexible your body has become.
5. Improves your balance - Through mind - body connection which is taught in Pilates you will become much more aware of how your body moves and performs. Therefore Pilates not only improves your physical balance through correct posture but will also restore your mind - body balance.
6. Reduce stress - When doing exercises, you will be totally engrossed and won't be able to think about all the things you have to do on a daily basis. You will be more focused on your breathing and on the moves that you are making with your body.
7. Gives you a general sense of well - being - Because Pilates focuses on providing balance between your body and mind it gives you an overall sense of well - being.
Below is a video of beginners Pilates for children. So find a space with soft flooring and if you have a mat even better and have a go at Pilates and see if you can feel any of the benefits listed above.