Guess what? That form of exercise that you love is not really Pilates. It is Contrology. Yes, Pilates is the man that invented it and Contrology is the name he gave it. Joseph Pilates created his workout system waaay back in the early 1900's. He created the mat work while he was a POW in World War I. His group of prisoners did not suffer from respiratory infections or other common illnesses that POW's normally have. He kept himself and the others moving and breathing properly. The equipment work was designed to rehabilitate soldiers after the war. This explains why the classical equipment looks similar to an old-fashioned hospital bed. Joe attached poles and springs to the beds so that bed-ridden soldiers could get a good workout.
"Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates during WWI in hopes to improve rehabilitation efforts for injured veterans. Pilates developed a collection of precise movements that would emphasize the control and form necessary to aid injured soldiers as they worked to regain their health by strengthening, stretching and stabilizing key muscle groups."*
Joseph Pilates named the work Contrology, or the study of control. As you go through your Pilates practice you learn to control your muscles and your form so that you have optimal balance and movement.
So, what is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise that balances the development of the body through flexibility, core strength, balance and concentration. Those that practice Pilates regularly move more efficiently and gracefully, have improved strength in every day activities and notice improved posture and even relief from chronic pain.
Stronger, leaner, confident. Just a few benefits of doing Pilates.
I just love the picture of Joseph Pilates working with a student. I could look at pictures and hear stories about him ALL day!
What benefits do you get from Pilates? Do you think we should still practice in speedos? Would you like to hear more on the history of Pilates the workout and/or the man?
*Peak Pilates "What is Pilates" manual