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The Benefits of Pilates

Page history last edited by Alex Jenner 12 years ago



"I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They'd be happier." -- Joseph Hubertus Pilates, in 1965, age 86.


Many types of people, at many levels of fitness, who have begun doing Pilates exercises say they've seen improvements in range of motion, flexibility, circulation, posture, and abdominal strength, and decreases in back, neck and joint pain



Pilates Benefit No. 1: Body Awareness[1]


  • "It is an education in body awareness," says Galliano, a celebrity pilates teacher who owns Live Art Pilates studio in Los Angeles. "It changes your shape by educating you in daily life. When you're cooking, brushing your teeth, etc. The lessons are coming home to pull your stomach in and pull your shoulders down. It changes your awareness of your posture even after class.


  • Awareness of how you sit, stand, or how you move and being able to relate those habits to the aches and pains and injuries you have or have had in the past is a huge benefit of pilates exercise.For example, it can help make you aware of that chronic tweak in the neck you get from sitting at the computer all day with rounded shoulders and a phone cradled between ear and shoulder.


  • As a Pilates-trained physical therapist, Dan Westerhold says he sees a lot of clients with injuries or weakness of the postural muscles, as a result of work, lifestyle, or not exercising the right way. "People sit slouched at computers all day, then go to the gym and work their extremities," says Westerhold, of Pilates Seattle. "They don't use their core.[2]"




Pilates Benefit No. 2 Core Strength          


  • Think of a tree, Pilates experts say. Does it have all its strength in its limbs? No. The tree is only as strong as its trunk and roots. Without a strong trunk, the tree would topple over.It's the same for human bodies, say Pilates experts. If we don't concentrate on building a good foundation and a strong trunk or core, we'll end up tight in some places and weak in others, injury-prone and susceptible to the pitfalls of our occupation or chosen form of exercise.


  • More than the benefits of using Pilates for flat abs, is the benefits of using Pilates for a stronger, healthy back and body. Along the way, by strengthening your core, you're going to have a flatter midsection.[3]


Pilates Benefit No. 3: Body Control


  • Galliano, who has sculpted the bodies of Madonna, Cameron Diaz, Sting, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Uma Thurman, says Pilates works because it teaches you how to move. "Unless you are taught how to move and discover with your teacher what is blocking you (for example, keeping your shoulders up too high), you will never achieve body symmetry," Galliano says. "When you start getting control of your body, it gives you a great degree of satisfaction."


  • There's an intrinsic relevance to it, says Little Rock, Ark., internist Hoyte Pyle, MD, who has been practicing Pilates for five years. Instead of working major muscle groups in isolation, he says, "Pilates works the whole body in synergy," which is how we should be moving on a daily basis.


Pilates Benefit No. 4:  Safety

  • No other exercise system is so gentle to your body while giving it a challenging workout. Many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight bearing. Pilates is so safe, it is used in physical therapy facilities to rehabilitate injuries.


This short videow quickly sums up many of the benefits you can acheive from a pilates exercise


YouTube plugin error  [4]


  1. http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/about/what-is-pilates.html
  2. Siler Brooke. The Pilates Body: The Ultimate At-Home Guide to Strengthening, Lengthening, and Toning Your Body--Without Machines. New York. Little Penguin. 2007.
  3. Fahey, T. D., Insel P. M. & Roth, W. T. (2009), Fit & Well: Core concepts and labs in physical fitness and wellness. McGraw-Hill, New York: New York. (pg. 91-100)
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ-cpf1i2b4

Comments (1)

Helena Baert said

at 10:03 pm on Sep 11, 2008

Excellent article Alex. I agree! I love pilates! Everybody should try it at least once to feel the benefits! Awesome job! I added this article in the physical activities section. Well done!

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