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Pilates

Pilates

In the early 20th century Joseph Pilates, a German living in England, began work on developing his unique exercise regime known throughout the world as Pilates. Key to the development of Pilates was the originator’s study and practice of yoga. Yoga postures, measured breathing, mental control and the emphasis on core strength and a correct alignment of the body were the building blocks of the Pilates regime. However, rather than rely simply on the weight of the body to develop strength and realignment, he added apparatus to his routines to help speed up the process.

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Today, tens of millions of people around the world regularly practise Pilates. The health benefits are said to extend to both body and mind.

For the body they include:
• increased strength, especially in the core muscles
• greater flexibility
• improved balance
• better posture
• lower propensity to sustain exercise-induced injuries
• better breathing through increased lung capacity

For the mind they include:
• greater powers of concentration
• reduced stress levels
• lower propensity to develop anxiety or depression

Numerous scientific studies have shown Pilates to be beneficial. For example, in 2010 the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported the results of a study of a group of thirty women, practising pilates three times a week for eight weeks. There were significant reductions in body fat and waist sizes, and increases in muscle strength and flexibility.

Pilates to fight inflammation
When it comes to fighting inflammation, one of the ways Pilates does so is by improving the efficacy of your body’s lymphatic system. The lymphatic system which runs throughout the body terminates in lymph nodes which is where toxins and waste products can become stored rather than flushed out. It is the physical movement and stretching of Pilates that makes it an anti-inflammatory exercise. It gently stimulates the lymphatic system to drain the excess fluid from the body, flushing out the toxins and reducing inflammation and pain.

For more information about Pilates, click through to the Pilates Foundation website.

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