When I was first introduced to the term pilates an immediate curiosity came over me. What is pilates, I wondered? And I soon learned that pilates is a system of exercise developed by a man with the same name, Joseph Pilates. “Exercise!” I thought… and my curiosity waned.
I was on the overflow side of weight gain at the time, and the thought of exercise appealed to me about as much as poison ivy. A few miles down the road and 100+ pounds lighter, pilates for weight loss has become a proven ally.
Brief History of Pilates
Joseph Pilates was a German immigrant who came to the United States in 1926. He put down roots in New York City where he opened the “Studio for Body Contrology.” Contrology was the original name for pilates exercise.
Pilates emphasizes proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, concentration on movement, and becoming in tune with your body. Emphasis is on the quality of movement rather than the number of repetitions.
The main goal of pilates is to strengthen the stomach, improve posture, stabilize and elongate the spine and develop balance and overall strength. So the focus is to build strength, particularly core strength and spinal strength. The contention is that pilates helps create better flexibility, increase brain function, improve grace and control, reduce back pain, decrease illness, improve sex, and build confidence.
4 Easy Pilates Moves
Here are four easy pilates moves that should be appropriate for beginners, seniors, and people with limited mobility — generally speaking. As always, you should check with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program. Some or all of these exercises can be performed at your desk, depending on your level of comfort in doing such things at the office.
1. This first sit and stand with footwork will strengthen your lower body, inner thighs, ankles, and feet. Inhale while sitting at your desk with the heels together and toes turned out. Stand up while exhaling, pull your abs up and in and squeeze your inner thighs together. Inhale and roll up on the balls of your feet, exhale and press your heels to the floor, then sit down. Repeat 4 times.
2. The second sit and stand strengthens the lower body, buttocks, ankles, and feet. Inhale while sitting with the toes parallel and pointed forward. Exhale and stand, pull the abs in, and squeeze the glutes. Inhale and roll up on the balls of your feet. Exhale and press your heels to the floor. Sit down. Repeat 4 times.
3. The spine twist strengthens and lengthens the spine and obliques. Sit with your feet flat on the floor and the legs together. Inhale and cross your arms in front of you. While exhaling, pull abs up and in and twist your body to one side. Inhale and return to starting position, then repeat on the other side. Repeat 2 more times on each side.
4. The back row with extension strengthens the upper middle back and stretches the chest. Sit with your legs a shoulder length apart and your feet flat on the floor. Inhale while extending the arms in front of your chest with the palms down. When exhaling, pull the arms back, leading with the elbows and lifting the chest. Inhale and return to original position. Repeat 4 times.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life