Pilates is a method of exercise that focuses on slow, controlled movements and proper breathing that helps to build strength, improve flexibility and joint mobility. The system was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century and today Pilates is widely used by professional dancers and physical therapists. Joseph Pilates developed some 500 different exercise movements and his system was quite different from those that repeated the same movement many times.
Pilates is supposed to use the mind to control the muscles and is known to alleviate and prevent back pain. The program helps to keep the body balanced, teaches awareness of neutral alignment of the spine and strengthens the deep postural muscles that support the spine. It is claimed to be a method of total body conditioning that emphasizes proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement. It is known to increase flexibility, muscle tone, body awareness and improve mental concentration and energy.
Joseph Pilates also developed special equipment and his program was meant to combine both matwork and equipment exercises. You learn to use your own body like weights in training to build strength and flexibility. Today its high profile practitioners attribute their weight loss and increased muscle tone to Pilates.
It is used in the field of fitness and rehabilitation by physiotherapists re-educate patients about movement and patients can progress to function effectively in their day-to-day activities. Research and theories in motor learning, biomechanics, and musculoskeletal physiology has affirmed the usefulness of Pilates in these cases.
Pilates avoids high impact, high power output or putting pressure on the muscles or bones and there is no focus on high-powered cardiovascular exercise. Its shortcoming as a fitness exercise is perhaps this lack of effective cardiovascular training Pilates is also not as effective as other training methods at building maximum strength.