Pilates is a full-body exercise system. It works the entire body, both the right and left sides, in unison. It focuses primarily on what Joseph Pilates called the “powerhouse” or the group of muscles that begins two inches below your navel, goes two inches above your navel and then wraps completely around your front and your back-kind of like a corset. It also includes your buttocks. With Pilates, no matter what exercise you’re doing, you are focusing on this powerhouse area.
Pilates is different from most exercises out there because it’s non-impact and safe, and it really works on using the body as a whole. When you move the body, you’re trying to move it from the powerhouse, using your abdominal wall to protect your back. You’re also working the body very evenly and symmetrically, making sure one side is not working harder than the other.
While anyone can benefit from learning Pilates, it is especially good for people who have not been used to physical activity or who may have had problems with back or joint injuries in the past.
Although most classes concentrate on fitness Pilates, teachers also specialise in rehabilitation. Pilates is designed specifically to help those with joint or other musculo-skeletal problems. As well as its clear physical benefits, Pilates promotes mental and physical relaxation and can help to resolve minor injuries.