Pilates for all

Every town and almost every village runs a Pilates class now because so many people have found that it keeps them fit and trim.
In the last 10 years Pilates has taken the UK by storm, but it was developed by Joseph Pilates almost 100 years ago to help him to fight the ill health which had dogged him since childhood. He ended up living until 87 and then died only as a result of a fire in his New York studio!

What is Pilates?

Pilates consists of small precise movements practised lying down or standing, which help you to become aware of the core muscles supporting spine. It helps to improve posture and flexibility, lengthen and tone muscle and strengthen joints, reduce stress, and ease pain. Up to 40 exercises were developed for work on mats, but Pilates can also be machine-based using a mixture of springs, pulleys and straps to provide resistance.

Teacher, author and video presenter of Pilates, Lynne Robinson, explains, ‘All the exercises cover every muscle group in the body but also work on the respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, digestive and even reproductive systems giving them all a boost. Pilates keeps joints mobile and aligned, reducing wear and tear and osteoarthritis, and as exercises weight-bearing they are also good for fending off osteoporosis.

Getting younger and younger

‘Nothing is as ageing as standing badly when you can’t breathe properly and your body sags. When you stand correctly you look and feel younger and move more efficiently. I had a herniated disc in my lumbar spine when I was 35 and I couldn’t even do yoga because my hamstrings were so tight. Now I am nearly 50 and I have a better figure than I did 20 years ago!

‘Learning something new also helps to keep the mind active and the whole process can be rejuvenating. We even have some clients in their 90s doing Pilates!’

Body Control Pilates Association, 0207 379 3734, www.bodycontrol.co.uk

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