Pilates is a worldwide exercise phenomenon, but several facts about it are persistently misunderstood. Let’s set the record straight! You will be surprised to find out what’s true and false about Pilates.
1. It is a new form of exercise.
False. Although Pilates has become popular all over the world in just the last several decades, it was created nearly 100 years ago by Joseph Hubertus Pilates, a German who moved to New York City where he and his partner Clara taught many of the most famous dance and theatre performers.
2. Pilates was derived from yoga.
False. Although Joseph Pilates studied yoga, he also studied boxing, gymnastics and many other forms of exercise. There is nothing in his writings or from those who were directly taught by him, suggesting that yoga was the major influence. Though they are complimentary practices, Pilates and yoga differ greatly.
3. It is just for women.
False. Pilates particularly appeals to women because it creates tremendous strength without a bulky appearance. However, it also appeals to men because no other exercise method surpasses Pilates for strengthening the core.
4. It is not suitable for older adults.
False. Pilates not only benefits people of all ages, it is particularly beneficial for the older body because its fluid, controlled and precise movement does not harm joints. Furthermore, Joseph Pilates himself practiced it well into his 80’s.
5. It is too easy.
False. Pilates is an essential part of the conditioning program of many elite athletes.
6. It’s too expensive.
False. Pilates mat exercise does not require the additional costs of any equipment or a gym, and many free video lessons are available on the web.
7. Pilates is just a quick fix for flabby abs.
False. Although Pilates does develop flat abs, it also strengthens the entire body as well as the mind.
8. It will give a person longer and leaner muscles.
True. Pilates utilizes eccentric contraction more than any other exercise method. This particular way of building strength creates leaner muscle, less bulk and less risk of muscle injury.
9. It can make a person taller.
True. Long and lean muscle tissue allows the skeletal structure to actually stand taller. This is why Pilates is known to dramatically improve posture.
10. Pilates will cure any back problem.
False. Though Pilates is particularly effective for the relief of most back problems, and Pilates principles of core strength are used by physical therapists worldwide, it is not a substitute for medical attention.
11. It will help a person lose weight.
True. Pilates, like any physical activity, burns calories. However, most experts agree that weight loss is ultimately the result of a combination of diet and exercise.
12. It improves athletic performance.
True. Pilates is unsurpassed for increasing balance and coordination which is why it is particularly helpful for those athletic activities that rely on core strength such as golf, horseback riding and tennis to name just a few.
13. Pilates is just like any other exercise but with different equipment.
False. Pilates uniquely engages and integrates the body and the mind. It can be done with special equipment, or with no equipment at all.
Now that you know what is and isn’t Pilates, it’s time to take the next step and try it. It will change your life!