You are only as old as your spine. Well, according to Joseph Pilates, that is. When he was creating his exercise system, originally called Contrology, it was designed to help with flexibility, which he thought was vital for good health. Joseph Pilates once said, “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young!”
Being flexible isn’t about being able to touch your toes or do the splits, being flexible is being able to move freely as you go about your daily life, whether that’s picking up the grandkids, jumping in puddles with your toddler or riding your mountain bike. All our daily activities require mobility and to stay healthy we need to be able to move with control. It is important to have the strength and control to move the spine in all directions: flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and rotation. Learning to do this safely and with the support of the muscles of the core is what Pilates is all about.
Pilates benefits over other exercise programs
Pilates aims to strengthen the body in an even way, with particular emphasis on core strength to improve general fitness and wellbeing.
- It works your whole body, not isolated muscle groups, this is how your body is designed to move and therefore strengthens the deep postural muscles as well as the global muscles on the surface
- Because all the muscles and connective tissues are constantly working with just the right amount of support and force required, there isn’t a lot of downtime so you will burn calories whilst seemingly not working up too much of a sweat
- Pilates improves your posture; good posture is the foundation to good movement.
- Joseph Pilates was adamant that Pilates was “the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” When you practise Pilates, your whole attention should be on the move, bringing a wonderful connection between your body and mind.
- Pilates gives you more energy – by focusing on breathing you move the air around you body waking up your circulation system making you feel energised
Try this 30 minute Pilates stretch routine to improve your flexibility.