By now, just about everyone has heard of Pilates, but you might be wondering who does Pilates, really? Let me tell you right off, there are a lot more people doing Pilates than the young women and red carpet celebrities we see in the media - people of all ages, shapes and sizes, and levels of fitness - and they are from all walks of life. What follows is a short list highlighting examples of people who take advantage of the benefits of Pilates training. I hope you find it encouraging.
I'm starting this list with men because there have been so many women doing Pilates in recent years that some have the idea that it's a women's form of fitness. That's a big Pilates myth. Men and Pilates go way back. Pilates was started by a man, Joseph Pilates, and men have been thoroughly involved in Pilates - doing it, teaching it, building the industry - all along. It can be a fantastic compliment to any workout routine and/or favorite sport or hobby.
Pregnant and Postnatal Women:
Pilates is a great friend of the pre and postnatal woman. It is famous for preparing bodies for childbirth and helping women recover not just their figures but better physical function after giving birth. There are certain exercises that are contraindicated as a pregnancy moves forward so please learn more about it before embarking on Pilates training.
Cross Training Athletes:
This is a category that is growing fast. As Pilates becomes more popular, its relevance as a form of fitness training that develops balanced musculature, flexibility and overall functional fitness is making it a top choice as complimentary exercise for athletes in training. We see everyone from cyclists to Super Bowl football players, golfers, tennis players, swimmers and Olympic ice skaters using Pilates.
This might also be a place to mention that dancers, who engage in very demanding physical training for their art, are big fans of Pilates and many go on to become Pilates instructors.
All Sizes, Including Overweight:
Big, small, tall, short, whatever.... you can do Pilates. One of the great things about Pilates is that it is built around efficient, well aligned human movement - not certain humans, all humans. There are things we focus on like core strength, flexibilty, and balance but the exercises are adapted appropriately for each body using them. This was one of the hallmarks of Joseph Pilates' teaching and it remains a guiding factor in the evolution of Pilates today.
Pilates fundamentals and mat exercises are accessable to everyone, with modification when desired, and good quality Pilates equipment is sturdy and often adjustable to differing sizes of people.
Pilates helps with balance, flexibility, strength and coordination as it promotes overall fitness. It is easy to adjust the effort level required for Pilates exercises. And Pilates, as moderate resistance training, is very compatible with bone health programs. These are some of the reasons seniors are signing up for Pilates classes.
People with Back Pain and in Rehab:
Pilates exercises are increasingly recommended by back pain specialists and incorporated into physical therapy programs of all kinds. People with pain or physical limitations often find that including Pilates taught by a qualified instructor in their rehab program makes a positive difference in their comfort and overall fitness.
Also, many Pilates instructors have continuing education in rehab issues and many physical therapists take Pilates teacher training programs. Those with chronic or serious physical issues will want to seek out these highly qualified therapists and teachers.
ANYONE CAN DO PILATES!