Webster’s Dictionary defines pilates as “a system of gentle exercise performed lying down that stretches and lengthens the muscles, designed to improve posture, flexibility, etc.”
Joseph Pilates devised an exercise system that improved posture, lengthened muscles, and added flexibility. He believed that the root of poor health was due to inefficient breathing, poor posture, and the modern lifestyle. He focused on creating a system that would involve exercises that are centered around breathing, and the strengthening of muscles. The pilates method uses low impact, controlled movements performed in a specific order slowly building in difficulty. Joseph Pilates did not just create an exercise routine, he also engineered pilates equipment. This equipment was used to teach people the proper methods of the pilates exercises. It should be noted however, this exercise routine does not require any fancy machinery. All pilates exercises can be done without anything other than your own body.
Personally, I think pilates is by far one of the best exercises.This is the one exercise routine I have found I enjoy and I continue to be motivated to do. As I mentioned in a previous post (What Motivates You to Exercise), motivation is everything, and women from all over are discovering pilates and the benefits they reap from it.
Today there are pilates gyms, pilates classes and pilates DVDs, where as ten years ago pilates was not particularly well known. I have attended classes at the local 24-Hour Fitness and those are great. However, I prefer the DVD series entitles “Winsor Pilates.” These DVDs specifically focus on your core and strengthening it. Every DVD begins with the pilates 100 and focuses on your breathing and getting oxygen flowing through your body. There is a variety of DVDs available from “Advanced Body Slimming” to “Buns and Thighs.” Each program ranges from 20 minutes to 1 hour. I have found that I enjoy the twenty minute DVDs the best, and if I feel extremely energetic I do two in a row. Although, “Winsor Pilates” is my DVD of choice, it all comes down to finding a class or DVD that will work for you. The principle is the same no matter which option you choose.
I began working pilates into my exercise routine shortly after my now 7-year-old son was 18 months. I had always been on the thinner side, but I was struggling with getting the baby weight off after having my second child. I did not have the time or the motivation to go to the gym regularly and honestly I was not wanting to put in the hour that most workouts required. After seeing the infomercials on TV several times and repeatedly walking past the DVDs in Target, I decided it was time to give it a try.
You cannot believe the difference it made–and quickly. I was already eating fairly healthy and did not need to change my eating habits. All I did was do my pilates DVD five to six times a week for 20 minutes. The paperwork that came with the DVD I purchased stated after 10 workouts I would feel the results, after 20 I would see the results and after 30 other people would see my results. I found that statement to be extremely true. In just a couple months time, I went from my post-baby size of a 6-8 down to my current size of a 2-4, and most importantly I felt better than I had in years. Friends of mine as well as people I hardly knew were noticing the difference in me.
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