Who Uses Pilates Workout Programs?
Joseph H. Pilates first taught the method that now bears his name to injured and ill patients in a German internment camp during World War I. Soon, his series of exercises designed to improve core strength, posture and alignment gained popularity with dancers, athletes and gymnasts. In the late 20th century, Pilates — both on the mat and on apparatuses like the Reformer — began to gain popularity with fitness enthusiasts seeking long, lean and toned bodies.
Joseph Pilates began teaching ballet and modern dancers at his New York City studio in the 1930s. Dancers of all styles from ballet to tap continue to practice Pilates as part of their training. Its emphasis on strong abdominal and back muscles helps dancers improve their performance, while its incorporation of flexibility training helps them remain limber. Dancers use Pilates both to prevent injuries and as a method of rehabilitation for existing injuries.
Professional and collegiate athletes use Pilates for conditioning and cross training. By focusing on whole body integration, deep breathing and correct alignment of the pelvis and back during Pilates, athletes become more aware of their bodies and learn to use their muscles more safely and efficiently. NBA coach Lawrence Frank uses Pilates to improve the agility and strength of the players on his team.
Models and Performers
The first Pilates studios on the West Coast catered to film stars, who used the method to build more slender and powerful bodies. Models, musicians and others in the limelight also practice Pilates as part of their fitness regimens. Actor Patrick Swayze uses Pilates exercises to isolate and strengthen muscles without added stress on his joints. Pop icon Madonna also credits Pilates with her lean, muscular physique.
Injured and Sick People
Physical therapists and doctors often recommend Pilates exercises for their patients, recognizing the benefits of a strong core for those recovering from muscular injuries. People with illnesses including cancer and Parkinson’s disease may use Pilates to help improve muscular efficiency and boost recovery times after operations. If you are sick or injured, seek medical counsel before beginning Pilates or any exercise program.
You don’t need an athletic background to benefit from Pilates. Students who practice Pilates come to the method with varying levels of fitness experience. Some use Pilates to supplement other forms of exercise, while others use Pilates to get in shape for the first time. Thanks to Pilates DVDs and the wide availability of classes at gyms and studios, anyone can benefit from the full-body workout of the Pilates method.
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