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Pilates 101

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Pilates 101

Most people associate Pilates with celebrities, dancers or just a trending exercise fad. The truth is, Pilates is a great way to stay in shape while strengthening their core and flexibility.

Cooper Fitness Center Pilates Instructor, Mary Ellen Elkhay, has been teaching Pilates for twelve years and discusses the origin and benefits of the beneficial workout.

What is Pilates and where did it come from? Pilates started in the 1920’s with Joseph Pilates. While in interment camp at the outbreak of World War I, he began to develop floor exercises now known as Pilates mat work, and expanded from there. Pilates now uses mats and equipment for an effective workout. Pilates really stems at the core starting with strength there and moving through the extremities.

Everything in Pilates is based on everyday movement and fine tuning the body so every move made is a constructive exercise—even simple things such as getting in and out of the car or walking across the kitchen. The benefits of Pilates are numerous and include:

  • Supporting an overall good and healthy body

  • Looking good and feeling good

  • Offering stress relief

  • Promoting better posture

  • Improving sleep

  • Aiding digestion

Pilates stems from core strength. Developing core strength is essential in developing the rest of your body’s strength. This is especially true as we age. Aside from the core development, Pilates helps to elongate muscles and improve flexibility. While practicing these exercises you’ll also work your mind/body connection. Pilates moves require order and repetition, thus requiring brain work.

Try at Home
Pilates exercises are great to try at home and can be incorporated into many stretching routines. Here are a few to get started:

  • Teaser – Shown in our exercise move, the teaser helps to build core strength and improve balance.

  • Kick series – While lying on your side, angle your legs out for balance. Then stack your hips and stabilize your trunk and kick your top leg forward and back or up and down. You are stabilizing your stomach while working your hip, glutes and legs.

  • Hundreds – This breathing exercise starts on your back with bent knees at a 90 degree angle. Inhale. As you exhale slowly, bring your head up (chin down) and curl your upper spine off the floor. Next, take five short breaths in and five short breaths out (puffing) and pump your arms towards the floor at the same time.

Cooper Fitness Center Pilates Program
Cooper Fitness Center’s certified Pilates instructors in Dallas offer training to fit your needs and fitness goals. Sessions include:

  • Group mat classes

  • Classes for men

  • Private and semi-private sessions

  • Small group classes

  • Pre-natal and postnatal sessions

For more information on Pilates or to schedule a training session, click here or call 972.233.4832.