Pilates and the central core of humans

Overview

Pilates is a physical fitness exercise regime that was evolved by Joseph Pilates in the first half of the last century. Joseph Pilates used to call it “Contrology.” It has a worldwide following, with maximum popularity in western countries such as the United States, Canada, ¬†and the United Kingdom. Pilates can be useful in conditioning the abdominal muscles or alleviating the lower back pain. Although, there is a lack of medical evidence of it benefitting people with existing health problems.

pilates

Benefits

Key benefits of Pilates include,

  • It builds strength.
  • It improves flexibility.
  • It develops endurance and control.
  • It provides strength to the human body and mind.
  • Provides power to the quadriceps.
  • Maintains balance.
  • Curbs symptoms.
  • Helps you in achieving and maintaining an ideal body weight.
  • Keeps joints flexible.

Principles

The basic principles followed in Pilates are as follows,

  • Control

Joseph Pilates named the system, Contrology, where the word control refers to muscle power. The idea is to gain control of multiple aspects of each moment. The exercises involved in Pilates require control, as in the case of muscles lifting against gravity or resistance in the springs.

  • Concentration

As long as one participates in Pilates, intense concentration is required to move the body smoothly. Hence, in Pilates the exercises are less significant than the way they are done.

  • Centering

To gain control of their bodies, practitioners need a starting place or center, which acts a focal point for Pilates. Muscles in the central core of the body are referred to as the powerhouse. With the aim providing strength to the body, the movements flow towards the limbs from the powerhouse. The powerhouse includes

  • Lower and upper back.
  • Abdomen.
  • Buttocks, hips, and inner thighs.
  • Precision

Precision is essential to Pilates as the exercises must be done correctly with concentrated efforts; otherwise, they are not beneficial. It is expected that, with time a person becomes habitual of precision even in his/her daily life.

  • Breathing

In Pilates, escalating oxygen intake and the natural circulation of this oxygenated blood is considered invigorating. It requires proper inhalation and exhalation. This kind of breathing is referred to as posterior lateral breathing, which means deep breaths into the sides and the back of the rib cage. The coordination of breathing and movements is of fundamental importance in Pilates.

  • Flow of movement

It requires simple motions, which produces a flow by using subtle transitions. Pilates is aimed at gaining stamina and strength, so the exercises flow within and into each other. It is the outwardly flowing movement from the robust core to the externalities. There was no clear medical evidence that it helped improve outcomes for people with existing health conditions.

Effectiveness

Efficacy and safety of Pilates are not yet medically proven. It is considered useful for the treatment of,

  • Lower back pain
  • Abdominal muscles conditioning of the healthy people

The moves may seem simple, but there is a strong emphasis on technique. It has quite a structured program which involves certain breathing techniques and precise movements. So it is quite demanding. It has a medium intensity level, and it targets the following areas,

  • Core.
  • Glutes.
  • Legs.
  • Back.

The kinds of exercises involved are strength and flexibility based and have a gentle and moderate impact on the muscles.

Conclusion

Pilates is recommendable for a person who is looking to maintain correct postures and at the same time work at strengthening their pelvis and abdomen. It also helps in achieving a healthy mind and body coordination. But it is not recommendable for those people who are looking for a strength building program.

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