Pilates (or more accurately, the Pilates method) is a system of exercises, with special - as the case may be - equipment designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, balance, posture, and rejuvenate mental health. This method was designed in the early 1920s by Joseph Hubertus Pilates, of German descent, who during World War II helped heal the wounded (modern Pilates instruments are the evolution of the improvised mechanisms he created). Because he was weak and sick as a child (suffering from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever), he felt the need to overcome this physical weakness and so he engaged in gymnastics, weight training, yoga, and martial arts, from which was influenced, and in combination with his love for dance and harmony of movement, created Pilates, his approach to a healthier life.
Undoubtedly it is a form of exercise that brings many benefits. Its systematic practice leads to better functioning of the nervous system (elongation of the spine), enhanced joint health and bone density while improving lung function and blood circulation. Pilates integrates specific models of respiration (the inhale is happening during a phase of a specific movement and the exhale during another phase of the movement), which has proven that increase the strength and the performance of the respiratory muscles. The stabilizing muscles of the body are strengthened, while at the same time the improvement of the mobility is sought, aiming at the functional movement, the acquisition of strength, balance, control of the movements, and correct posture of the body. It is based on 6 principles: concentration, breathing, control, strengthening of the ‘center’, accuracy, and flow of movement.
The interest and popularity of Pilates are growing worldwide. It gained recognition for the first time among dancers, choreographers, and actors, reaching to this day to be applied in addition to fitness programs, in some rehabilitation programs. There is a lot of scientific research that cites clinical evidence that confirms the benefits of this method. It is one of the safest ways to exercise for people with health problems (musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, etc.), and it is indicated that it is recommended, among others, for people with multiple sclerosis (who often have problems with balance and mobility, including reduced stability of the torso, and are usually unable to attend other exercise programs), in people with neck and waist pain (areas that cause discomfort in modern man), in people with neck and waist pain (areas that cause discomfort in modern man), in people affected by pelvic weakness (pregnancy, injuries, incontinence, aging, etc). Pilates includes a wide range of ‘clientele’, from healthy populations to vulnerable groups, making it one form of exercise for all.
Joseph Pilates's dream was to teach his method in every neighborhood..and he succeeded
"I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They'd be happier." - Joseph Hubertus Pilates, 1965. Died in 1967.