With all the choices we have in the 21st century to achieve the physical results we want, a person can easily get lost in all the hype. From StairMasters and treadmills to circuit training and Zumba, people are forever looking for the next best (and hopefully quick and easy) way to enhance their physical appearance as well their energy level.
Worldwide, the health and fitness club market generates over $78 billion in revenue. The United States, with over 32,000 clubs and 52 million members, grosses over $22 billion in revenue alone. Incredible! Given all the options, I am regularly asked by both friends and family, why Pilates?
Think of a tree. Does all its strength come from its limbs? No! The strength of the tree is in its roots and trunk. Without these, the tree would surely topple.
Developed by Joseph Pilates (1883-1967), Pilates builds strength, control, endurance and flexibility throughout the entire body. With over 500 possible exercises, Pilates creates a powerhouse of both physical awareness and mental energy. Pilates is a simple, straightforward and fluid way to build core strength for everyone. Furthermore, it doesn’t discriminate based on a person’s shape, size, age or gender. Instead, it taps into the uniqueness of every individual and draws a reservoir of strength and energy out of that person.
This was Mr. Pilates’ ultimate goal when he began developing his “contrology” method, or the art of controlled movements in the 1920’s. It’s a method by which any individual’s mind can control the flexibility in his or her muscles over time, and of course, a flexible muscle is a strong muscle.
Through Pilates, the muscle of the abdomen, lower back and buttocks take control of the posture balance and alignments of your body. The genius that was Mr. Joseph Pilates saw this.
Modern day Pilates in all its forms takes that genius and blends itself into the hectic lifestyle of today. Without spending hours in the gym bulking up all our limbs of the tree, Pilates allows you to manage both your time and your body.
Through the apparatus, namely the Reformer, the Cadillac, the Wunda Chair and, of course, the mats, Pilates is a continuous, controlled routine that develops your body from the inside core out, thereby creating the most important and wonderful results: lasting ones. From 15-85 years of age, the Pilates form of strength and flexibility works. The pace of the results is solely left up to the individual’s desire and commitment.
In the end, physical fitness and well-being is a life process, not a New Year’s resolution. It’s a continuous evolution of your desire and commitment to find new energy and spirit within yourself. Pilates in all its forms will feed that desire in you like nothing else you will ever experience in life.
Susan Anthony is owner of Precision Pilates and Gyrotonic in East Providence, RI. Certified in the Authentic Pilates Method, also referred to as Classical, Susan is one of the only instructors in RI to be personally trained by Joseph Pilates’ protégé Romana Kryzanowska. Susan is also certified in the Gyrotonic Expansion System.