Lecturer: Pilates refers to a system of physical fitness that was developed by a German physical – culturist called Joseph Pilate. It has become popular over the years, and by the year 2005, there were many people practicing it, In US alone, it had reached eleven million. Pilate referred to this method as Contrology. This is due to the fact that he believed this type of physical fitness regime made use of the mind to control body muscles. As a body conditioning mechanism, Pilate aids in flexibility, strength building, endurance and limbs and back co-ordination (Friedman and Eisen 30). The history of Pilates dates back to the late 19th century in Germany. In the year 1883, Joseph Pilate came up with a series of body exercises that were designed to strengthen the mind and body. He did this because he believed in the interrelation between mental and physical well being of a person. Pilates was developed out of the context of physical fitness, training routines that were available in Germany at the time of Pilate. It has similarities with the physical fitness regimes of the late 19th, for instance, it uses special equipment and it claim it just like other physical training regimes and also it can cure illness. Initially, Pilates was practiced only by a few people but with time it has evolved and now they are found in public places such as gyms, physiotherapy rooms and community centers. Pilates is still practiced as it was originally developed by Pilate, however there have been some few modern forms such as Stott Pilates that have some modifications in their regime (Friedman and Eisen 60). There are six principles that guide people to successfully practice Pilates. The first principal or guideline to practicing Pilates is concentration. Pilates demands that you need to have intense focus on what you are doing throughout and also you must have full concentration on your body. This is because of the fact that when it comes to Pilates, the way a regime is done is more important than the regime itself. Another important guideline to practicing Pilates is controlling specific muscle. Control is a direct consequence of concentration, thus when you have great concentration then you can control every aspect of your body movement. Pilates teaches one to control their body and not the body to control them. The third principle or guideline for Pilates is centering. Center refers to the starting place and according to Pilates, for one to have full control of their body they must have somewhere from which to start from. Many tutors in Pilates consider the centre of the body i.e. abdomen, hips, inner thighs and buttocks as the starting place and the muscles located in these places as the body’s “powerhouse” therefore all body movements in Pilates should begin from these areas and progress to the outer areas. Flow or efficiency of movement is the fourth guideline in practicing Pilates. The aim of Pilates is to have elegant and sufficient movement to enable effective transitions during flow. Once the flow and efficiency of movement has been achieved, the fitness regimes are expected to flow smoothly within and into one another (Calderone 45). The fifth guideline is Precision. Precision is an essential requirement for one to have a successful Pilate regime as in Pilate. The movement of the body parts must be done correctly because any wrong movement done result in one losing the benefits that they are supposed to attain. It is often considered better to do one correct movement than to do many wrong ones and one gains more by achieving one correct movement than a person who does several incorrect ones. The goal of Pilates is to enable one apply this precision in their everyday life and be effective in their everyday movements. Last but not least, the final guideline to practicing Pilate is breathing. Pilate considered breathing as one of the most essential requirements for his regime. He advised people to increase the oxygen they take in as key to have proper breathing during the regime. In order for one to increase their intake of oxygen, they should have full inhalation and complete exhalation. According to Pilate, forced exhalation was the key to full inhalation and for this reason, he advised people to try as mush as possible to exhale during the regime in order to fully inhale (Calderone 45). Pilates uses a range of apparatus in its practice and application. Originally he used a mat to develop his regimes but as time went by he developed several apparatus to aid people in training. Pilate’s apparatus are mostly spring based as they apply the use of springs to train people in resistance. Pilate’s resistance training regimen involves progressive resistance. this is whereby the resistance is increased with increase in the stretch of the spring. The Reformer is the most common of the traditional Pilates apparatus. Others include the Cadillac, the high chair, the Spine corrector and the Wunda chair (Isocawitz 67). Work Cited Friedman, Phillip Eisen, Gail. Pilate’s method of Physical and Mental conditioning. Romania: Romana Publishers, 1980. Print. Calderone, Gary. Pilate’s Path to Health: body, mind and spirit. London: Harper Publishers, 1998. Print. Isocawitz, Rael. Pilates Anatomy. New York: Heineman Publishers, 2001. Print.
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