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Pilates is a deep body-conditioning technique that strengthens muscles and improves balance and posture. Like yoga, Pilates involves you learning a series of poses and stretches and helps tone and strengthen your muscles; unlike yoga, Pilates does not usually involve meditation and is not an aerobic exercise.
Devised by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, Pilates aims to teach you how to use your muscles properly to protect and support you, preventing injury and strain. For this reason, Pilates is increasingly popular with people whose work is very physically demanding, from ballerinas to prop forwards to builders.
Because Pilates helps to increase flexibility, and strengthen the muscles that support bones, chiropractors, osteopaths, back specialists and physiotherapists now recommend Pilates to people who have a recent or persistent injury. Pilates can improve physical strength and fitness in a variety of ways. It can:
Pilates is particularly good for pregnant women as it can help improve posture and weight-bearing, reducing the risk of injury and pain.