What Is Pilates?
Pilates is a system of physical fitness exercises that promote strength, stability, and flexibility. Not to be confused with yoga, which traditionally involves more breath work and mind, body, and spiritual connection, Pilates focuses on core engagement and body movement. Originally a rehabilitative practice, Pilates is also now popularly known as a way to improve an individual’s overall fitness.
Types of Pilates
Since Pilates includes strength training, the exercises involve using your own body weight, along with resistance bands or dumbbells. These exercises usually fall under two categories: mat exercises and special equipment exercises.
- Mat exercises – A large, thick, and dense mat with a slick surface is often used in Pilates to provide a cushion when performing weight-intensive exercises.
- Special equipment exercises – Large resistant equipment, such as a Pilates reformer, tower, and trap table, is commonly used in Pilates studios since they often require specific instruction. Small special equipment, like exercise balls, dumbbells, and foam rollers, can be used during mat exercises to further help with strength and balance.
Principles of Pilates
Pilates exercises are versatile but ultimately follow six principles which include:
- Centering – A mindfulness exercise, centering focuses on the center of your body.
- Concentration – When you work out your body, concentrate on the muscle groups you’re strengthening.
- Control – Every Pilates exercise requires deliberate muscle control.
- Precision – Similar to control, moving your body requires exact alignment and engagement for optimal results.
- Breath – Pilates exercises coordinate with the rhythm of the breath.
- Flow – The repetitive movements in Pilates have a fluidity and ease to them.
Benefits of Pilates
Pilates focuses on muscle and core strength as well as flexibility. As a result, muscles have greater range of motion, less stress is placed on the body, and overall balance and posture are improved. Furthermore, Pilates can enhance your fitness routine. For example, after a cardio workout, you can complete Pilates exercises to have endurance, strength, and flexibility training.
The Role of Pilates in Orthopaedic Recovery
In addition to augmenting your fitness routine, Pilates offers the versatility of having less intense workouts. For example, if you want to stay relatively active while recovering from an injury or want to strengthen an area that went through an injury, low intensity resistance and flexibility training with Pilates can keep your musculoskeletal system in good shape. However, it’s best to consult with your doctor or physical therapist before undergoing any type of recovery training.
If you’ve experienced a muscle or bone injury, the team of specialists at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine can help you get back on your feet. Please request an appointment online or give us a call at 904-825-0540.
Casey McClone, MD
Board Certifications in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine. Dr. McClone specializes in treating musculoskeletal pain for patients of all ages with ultra-sound guided injections.