Attention Pilates fans, here are five facts about Pilates that you may find surprising:
1) Pilates was invented for WWI prisoners of war
Joseph Pilates was a German living in England when World War I broke out. He was placed in an internment camp where he started helping prisoners to stay fit by implementing a unique method of muscle toning and strengthening. Pilates taught exercises that he had created for himself to his fellow inmates, including those who were bed-ridden. He got his inspiration for the future Pilates reformer by using bedsprings to create resistance.
2) Pilates is a great form of physical therapy
Pilates has been shown to help people with various injuries and diseases rehabilitate their bodies. The low-impact and focused method of muscle strengthening with emphasis on the core can help people who are recovering from car accidents, cancer, athletic injuries and even those living with multiple sclerosis.
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3) In Pilates, control of the mind is equally as important as control of the body
The original name of the Pilates method was “contrology” which emphasized the use of the mind to control muscles. Pilates believed that deep mental awareness of your breathing, working your core, controlling your movements, fluidity of motion, precision of exercises and being mentally present during your workout were essential to physical health. Exercise without mental concentration, he thought, was literally a waste of time.
4) Pilates is a great complement to yoga
Celebrity Pilates and yoga instructor, Kristin McGee, explains why the two fitness methods of Pilates and yoga work well together:
“Yoga aids in flexibility which allows Pilates practitioners to go deeper in to their practice and connect easier with their core (when your limbs are loose you can access your powerhouse easier). I also think yoga adds a lot of standing work that you won’t find as much of in Pilates so you can find your core when your practicing your balance standing. The two are very complementary to each other and I love them both.”
5) Pilates was intended not only for mat work but also on equipment
Throughout his life, Joseph Pilates created many forms of apparatus to practice his contrology exercises. In addition to workouts on the mat, there are a multitude of exercises which can be done on various pieces of Pilates equipment including the ladder barrel, the Wunda chair, the Cadillac and the Reformer. These pieces of equipment, like our own Pilates Power Gym, offer a wide range of additional Pilates exercises not possible on the mat. – T.Y.
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