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Pilates is a long-practiced form of exercise, developed in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates as a way for him to improve his own strength and flexibility. He was inspired by calisthenics, yoga and ballet with balance, posture and overall physical health being his goal.

Initially used clinically as a way for injured athletes and dancers to safely return to exercise, Pilates has been adapted over time to suit people in the community in a variety of ways.

The core purpose of Pilates is to promote mobility & strength of all the major muscle groups. The precise range of motion in Pilates requires focus, control is key. Rather than working muscles to exhaustion, in Pilates exercises are performed in low repetitions with close attention to prescribed breathing patterns.  Workouts are low impact and can be adapted to suit individuals making it appropriate for everyone from elite athletes to people with limited mobility or fitness. 

Pilates is recognised as far more than an exercise class, with Pilates instructors in Australia required to be Diploma level trained as a minimum. The health benefits of Pilates means that Pilates practitioners will often work in clinics alongside allied health practitioners such as physiotherapists and can be seen as a complimentary treatment.

Improved flexibility and increased muscle strength and endurance – particularly core muscles – are the most well recognised benefits of Pilates, but there are many more.

One of the core goals of Pilates is balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body, this leads to improved stabilisation of your spine, correct alignment and improved posture. As a result, it is ideal for rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances.

The breathing patterns practiced in Pilates have been shown to increase lung capacity and circulation. It also has an effect on stress management and relaxation. The intense concentration required to perform such precise movements combined with an emphasis on mind-body connection has been found to improve overall concentration and increase body awareness. Scientific studies of the practice of Pilates have suggested it can reduce chronic pain as well as lessening anxiety & depression. 

Due to the demonstrated benefits to strength, flexibility & balance of Pilates, it is often used to enhance the training of professional athletes across a broad range of sports from dancing to soccer, with a particular focus on injury prevention.  Reformer Pilates in particular has been linked to improvements in surfing and boxing.

If you think Pilates may be for you, you can find your local accredited Pilates practitioner using this link,

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