Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, after whom it was named. Pilates called his method “Contrology” It is practiced worldwide, especially in Western countries such as Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. As of 2005, there were 11 million people practicing the discipline regularly and 14,000 instructors in the United States.
There is only limited evidence to support the use of Pilates to alleviate low back pain, or improve balance in elderly people. Evidence from studies show that while Pilates improves balance, limited data exists on whether this impacts on falls by the elderly. Pilates has not been shown to be an effective treatment for any medical condition. There is some evidence regular Pilates sessions can help muscle conditioning in healthy adults, when compared to doing no exercise.
Health benefits of Pilates
The health benefits of Pilates include:
- improved flexibility
- increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body)
- balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body
- enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs
- improved stabilisation of your spine
- improved posture
- rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances
- improved physical coordination and balance
- relaxation of your shoulders, neck and upper back
- safe rehabilitation of joint and spinal injuries
- prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
- increased lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing
- improved concentration increased body awareness
- stress management and relaxation.