Pilates: 'Old-school' Workout Will Deliver Results for All Fitness Levels

Pilates: ‘Old-school’ Workout Will Deliver Results for All Fitness Levels

Posted on: August 24, 2015

"Old-school" workouts like Pilates are still a great way to get in shape, helping tone muscles, improve posture, and increase balance and flexibility. Are you ready to give Pilates a try? Classes start this fall in North Canton.

Fitness classes North Canton Ohio 2015 - Pilates

The Philosophy Behind Pilates

Pilates was developed more 90 years ago by Joseph Pilates, a self-defense instructor and long-time owner of a fitness studio in New York City. His Pilates method is a system of stretching and strengthening exercises developed to tone muscles, improve posture, increase balance and flexibility. It unites the body and mind and helps create a more streamlined shape.

Joseph Pilates believed that “to achieve happiness, it is imperative to gain mastery of your body.” If at the age of thirty you feel stiff and out of shape, then you are “old.” If at sixty you are supple and strong, then you are “young.” 

"Through visualization, physical strengthening and stretching of the body, mental vigor and improved blood flow can re-fuel what once were inactive brain cells." ~ Joseph Pilates

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One of the best examples Joseph Pilates gave about his theory was “a child at play.” Most of us envy the suppleness and vitality of a child. He felt that with patience, perseverance, and a strong will, all things are possible.

The ABC's of Pilates

  • A=Alignment — Pilates stresses the importance of proper alignment of the spine.
  • B=Breathing — Pilates instills the importance of rib cage breathing.
  • C=Core — Pilates aims to strengthen your core muscle groups.
  • S=Stabilization — Pilates applies stabilization of the spine while using your arms and legs to challenge the core muscles.

The Goal of Pilates Matwork

You are re-teaching your body lessons of correct form and movement that will last you a lifetime. Your overall goal is to break bad habits and connect good form of body with sound mind. Your exercise goal is individual.

To start you should concentrate on mastering the beginning exercises of the mat and the proper breathing. Don’t give up if you can’t get all the movements correct right away. Some of the fittest athletes have had trouble performing these exercises correctly with the best form. During mat class you want to move with rhythm and dynamics. Effort and sweat are sure signs you  are accomplishing your goal.

There are Pilates machines that can be used to do the exercises on and some will find this more effective than a mat workout. Mat Pilates is customarily more affordable than machine based exercise. A Pilates-certified trainer should lead you through pilates exercise whether you choose machine based exercises or matwork.

Pilates Can Help – No Matter Your Fitness Level

Pilates matwork is designed to accommodate all levels of fitness. The Pilates method is a corrective system of exercise, and you will progress in stages. The key to doing pilates exercises correctly is to do them in the systematic order they were designed to be done in by Joseph Pilates. It is a step by step process to mastering the moves and gaining benefit from them over time.

Everyone must start slowly. You must learn to visualize the movements and follow closely the instructor's cues to correct your form. However, you should not push your body beyond uncomfortable movement. Once you have learned the fundamentals of Pilates by performing the beginner exercises, you can then apply this to the way your body moves in general during everyday activities.

Pilates exercise have helped people with their activities of daily living for years. If you learn the fundamentals and the beginner exercises well, you will progress in no time!

Pilates Mat Recommendations

Any kind of mat or pad that is thick enough to support and protect the delicate vertebrae of your spine is fine to use for a matwork class .  A long folded blanket may also do the trick. Also, a surface that is too soft is not desirable because it inhibits balance.

Fall is a great time to start an exercise class!

Mercy Health & Fitness Center offers several types of classes. Pilates is offered on Wednesday evenings from 7-8 pm beginning on September 7. The member fee is $20 for four classes and non-member fee is $28 for four classes. Classes are offered on a monthly basis.

For more information, visit our website or call 330-966-8997.

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