Pilates Strengthens Body And Mind

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 Pilates Strengthens Body And Mind, The Women's JournalBy Nancy Hawkins Rigg,
Founder and Owner, Forever Fit Foundation


How would you describe your lifestyle? Are you an active golfer or a more sedentary person? No matter what your fitness goals, Pilates offers endless physical and mental benefits.

Give it a try!

Sure you can order a DVD, but most people prefer personal instruction, a teacher who can not only provide feedback, but also encourage you to reach new fitness levels.

The reality is that once an exercise DVD arrives at the door, its lifespan is generally rather short. After using it once or twice, that DVD gets shelved. Sure you can have good intentions to exercise at home, but interruptions and distractions lurk literally everywhere.

The alternative is to develop a relationship with a personal trainer who has earned appropriate credentials to offer private instruction in Pilates.

Before that first training session, this instructor will ask you about your goals, about previous injuries, about how much time you have to devote to your practice and a host of other questions in order to develop a personalized workout session for you.

No doubt she will also evaluate your fitness level, taking note of your physical strengths and weaknesses so that you will be appropriately challenged.

So why Pilates? Pilates has, for lack of better words, a great track record, longevity, and reliability.

Its founder, Joseph Pilates, a German, dedicated his life to physical fitness; he was a gymnast, diver, bodybuilder and circus performer. He developed a series of exercises and training-techniques and engineered all the equipment specifications required to teach his methods properly.

In today’s Pilates studios, instructors still use equipment such as the Cadillac and the Reformer among others, and his original training techniques are also used on the mat or with small equipment.

While detained as a prisoner of war in England, he continued to develop, what he called Contrology, a holistic system of exercise that he used to help other inmates improve their health.

In about 1925, Pilates migrated to the United States. He and his wife, Clara, founded a studio in New York City and directly taught and supervised their students well into the 1960s.

The Pilates system encourages students to use their mind and mental focus to control their muscles; and the physical exercises focus on the core postural muscles. Pilates exercise teaches breath awareness, spinal alignment, and strengthening the internal core and abdominal muscles.

In his early years in the United States, Pilates built a following in the dance community because his exercises developed the strength, flexibility and stamina needed for performance.

Those exercises are still practiced today.

People who practice Pilates learn that mind/body connection because of the obvious links that fit people recognize and respect.

Pilates’ exercises develop spinal mobility, strengthen the body’s core, encourage body awareness, and simultaneously increases flexibility as well. Pilates’ exercises can be performed on studio apparatus or on a mat, often using balls or rings.

Each exercise demands concentration and control. Pilates requires attention to details and as individuals become more proficient in the practice, an experienced personal trainer modifies the exercises so they become more challenging.

Clients may notice their posture has improved or that that they are able to take the focus they’ve learned during a training session off the mat and into the rest of their lives. Developing a strong core and flexible spine also serve as injury and fall prevention. Pilates’ exercises definitely work the entire body and engage the mind as well.

Give it a try!


Pilates Strengthens Body And Mind, The Women's Journal

Nancy Hawkins Riggs is the founder and owner of Forever Fit Foundation, a personal training business specializing in Pilates, Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis, Yamuna Body Rolling and sport specific training. Forever Fit Foundation accepts clients at three sites: Dover and Lewes, Del., and Mendenhall Station, Pa., just over the Delaware line. A certified athletic trainer, she earned her bachelors degree fro the University of Delaware and her master’s degree in exercise science and sports medicine from Miami University in Ohio. Please call (302) 423-1816 or (302) 698-5201 to schedule an appointment for more information.

Pilates Strengthens Body And Mind, The Women's Journal