When Pilates and yoga first hit mainstream fitness over a decade ago, instructors enthusiastically fused these traditional methods with everything from kickboxing to weight lifting, disco and rollerblading. While many of these fads have fizzled, the fusion of Pilates and yoga remains a popular combination. IDEA spoke with several leaders in the field to find out how the yoga-Pilates format has matured since the hundred was first introduced to downward-facing dog.
Karin Singleton has worked in the fitness industry since 1994, and she loves helping people feel and live better. She owns Fitness Personified Ltd., a studio in Raleigh, North Carolina, and also works at Rex Wellness Center (part of UNC Health Care). A mind-body specialist, she teaches and trains using Pilates and the M.E.L.T. Method® (Myofascial Energetic Length Technique, or MELT) and is experienced in traditional strength, cardio and core training methodologies.
Pilates continues to grow in popularity, and its practice is now familiar to people around the world, with studios throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Enthusiastic marketers may claim that Pilates can solve everything from weight issues to problems in the bed- room, but we serve our clients well when we educate them about benefits of Pilates training that are validated by scientific consensus.
Pilates offers more than good exercise for the body; consistent practice leads to real improvements in life quality, notably better depth and quality of sleep, says recent research. A preliminary study with 30 young adults showed that participating in two 1-hour Pilates mat classes per week for 12 weeks improved both sleep quality and life quality. Subjects were healthy, inactive adults aged 20–24, who provided self-reports on how the Pilates tice affected these factors.
“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness,” posited Joseph Pilates in his book Return to Life Through Contrology, first published in 1945. A recent observational study of Pilates practitioners provides support for his position.
Does Pilates—with its emphasis on precision, concentration and memorization of movement patterns—enhance brain function as well as physical function? Scientists from Yanshan University in Qinhuangdao, China, and Beijing Normal University in Beijing wanted to find out.
Many Pilates clients want to develop lower-body strength and definition, and the reformer is a perfect piece of equipment to help them meet this goal. Strong hamstrings, gluteals, quadriceps, adductors and abductors provide power for athletic moves and functional activities.
newsletter_teaser: Many Pilates clients want to develop lower-body strength and definition, and the reformer is a perfect piece of equipment to help them meet this goal. Strong hamstrings, gluteals, quadriceps, adductors and abductors provide power for athletic moves and functional activities.
Pilates practice may help people with ankylosing spondylitis to improve functional capacity, reports a study published in Rheumatology International (2012; 32 (7), 2093–99; doi: 10.1007/s00296-011-1932-9).
AS is a chronic, inflammatory disorder characterized by pain and stiffness of the back and the sacroiliac joints, but it can also affect peripheral joints like the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. Over time, breathing becomes increasingly difficult, and affected joints eventually lose all mobility.
IDEA member and fitness and Pilates consultant and instructor Kevin Bowen, based in Denver, has created a Pilates mat and equipment program to address the specific needs of men in their 40s, 50s and beyond, while also educating Pilates instructors about these requirements.
Bowen believes that Pilates is an ideal method of training for men in these age brackets, but he emphasizes that a program geared to the “prime male” must target a man’s changing body and his psyche.