You've heard terms like mind-body, core strength and core stability before, but what are they? Well, they are much more than the latest fitness buzzwords - they are the keys to a healthier lifestyle through Pilates.

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There's more to Pilates than developing "strong abs" or "core strength". It is an exercise system that focuses on stretching and strengthening the whole body to improve balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. It was created by German-born Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s and incorporates elements of yoga, martial arts and Western forms of exercise.

Initially adopted by professional dancers in the US as an effective form of recovery after injury, it has steadily grown in popularity around the world, and includes celebrity fans such as Madonna.
Both Pilates and yoga focus on developing strength, balance, flexibility, posture and good breathing technique. With its emphasis on the unity between the mind and body, yoga has a more spiritual side that Pilates does not. The main components of yoga are postures (a series of movements designed to increase the strength and flexibility of the whole body) and breathing. Pilates also uses breathing, but its exercises focus much more on precise movements to target specific parts of the body. The best Pilates classes are in small groups where the teacher can develop programmes to suit each person's strengths and weaknesses.

Pilates is an innovative and safe system of mind-body exercise using a floor mat or a variety of equipment. It can dramatically transform the way your body looks, feels and performs. It builds strength without excess bulk, capable of creating a sleek, toned body with slender thighs and a flat abdomen.

photo credit: itunes.apple.com
It is a safe, sensible exercise system that will help you look and feel your best. It teaches body awareness, good posture and easy, graceful movement. It also improves flexibility, agility and economy of motion. It can even help alleviate back pain. No matter what your age or condition, it will work for you.

Pilates is an activity that keys on the mental focus of the physical movements being performed. With this type of exercise quality of movement is stressed over quantity of movement. You'll often see instructors using a lot of verbal "cues" and coaching on exercise, and proper body alignment. Simply the mind-body exercise contributes to overall fitness and assists with engagement of the mind. You can Gain long, lean muscles and flexibility through it. You can create an evenly conditioned body, improve sports performance, and prevent injuries. Learn how to move efficiently, it's0 gentle but it is challenging also.

It builds strength without excess bulk, creating a sleek, toned body with slender thighs. It's the same for human bodies, say Pilates experts. If we don't concentrate on building a good foundation and a strong trunk or core, we'll end up tight in some places and weak in others, injury-prone and susceptible to the pitfalls of our occupation or chosen form of exercise.

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