What is pilates?
Pilates aims to strengthen the body in an even way, with particular emphasis on core strength to improve general fitness and wellbeing.
Pilates exercises are done on a mat or using special equipment, depending on your individual needs.
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates, who believed mental and physical health were closely connected. His method was influenced by western forms of exercise, including gymnastics, boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling. Pilates immigrated to the US in the 1920s and opened a studio in New York, where he taught his method, which he called “contrology” – for several decades.
Who is pilates for?
Pilates has something to offer people of all ages and levels of ability and fitness, from beginners to elite athletes. The apparatus can be used to provide support for beginners and people with certain medical conditions, as well as resistance for people looking to challenge their body.
If you have any health concerns, such as a health condition or an injury, seek advice from your GP or a health professional before starting any exercise programme.
What are the health benefits of pilates?
There are many reports on the health benefits of pilates. However, few of these have been subjected to rigorous scientific examination, and there’s a need for more research in this area.
Practitioners say regular pilates can improve posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension. For elite athletes, including dancers, pilates can complement training by developing whole-body strength and flexibility, and help reduce the risk of injury.
Can pilates help reduce back pain?
There’s some evidence that pilates can provide pain relief to people with non-specific lower back pain. The use of apparatus enables someone with back pain to perform exercises with support.
For the exercises to be effective, they need to be tailored to the individual and vetted by an appropriately qualified health professional. Pilates teachers are not medically qualified and cannot prescribe, treat or offer therapy.
Can pilates help me lose weight?
Pilates is classed as a muscle-strengthening activity, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. Classes can vary in intensity: they can be gentle, or dynamic and offer a solid workout.
If you want to lose weight, you’re advised to combine pilates with a healthy diet and some aerobic activities, such as swimming, walking and cycling.
Clare is available for individual or small group sessions of Back Care Pilates. Utilising 25 years experience of managing patients in a clinical setting, Clare has found individualised pilates to be very beneficial for her patients.