Frequently Asked Questions
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a system of exercises developed nearly one hundred years ago by Joseph Pilates and perfected thereafter by his many followers. Pilates helps people of all ages and physical abilities to become fit, strong and healthy by improving muscle flexibility, core strength, posture, and coordination and by fostering a holistic sense of vitality and well-being.
What is core strength?
Core strength is the foundation of a Pilates program. The core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abdomen and back. When the core muscles are strong and doing their job- as they are trained to do in Pilates- they work in tandem with the more superficial muscles of the trunk to support the spine and facilitate healthy movement. Developing core strength helps to develop stability throughout the entire torso. Strengthening the core is one of the ways in which Pilates helps people overcome back pain. As the torso is properly stabilized, pressure on the back is relieved and the body is able to move freely and efficiently.
What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?
They do share some similarities. Both are considered mind-body type methods of exercise; both emphasize deep breathing and smooth, long movements.
But while Yoga consists of moving from one posture to the next, Pilates flows through a series of dynamic movements that incorporate resistance equipment. The type of breathing is also different. Pilates focuses on expanding the ribcage in all directions while inhaling through the nose, and then activating deep abdominal muscles to exhale through the mouth.
How long will I have to do the workout before I see results?
The average active person taking 2-3 classes per week should see some results within 10 classes. This will vary depending on each individual and whether or not they have existing injuries or other physical limitations.
I have a bad back. Will I be able to do Pilates?
Although you should always consult your physician before starting any fitness routine, Pilates is gentle, safe and effective for almost anyone. With your doctor or physical therapist’s recommendation, our qualified and experienced instructors will design an individualized, rehabilitative program that will help restore your spine’s health. We will modify the exercises to accommodate your needs and will continually challenge you within your range of physical ability.
What are the benefits of Pilates?
- The various benefits include but are not limited to:
- Increased strength without unwanted bulk
- Increased core strength, stability and peripheral mobility
- Improved fitness levels
- Greater ease and range of movement
- Heightened body awareness
- Improved joint health
- Added variety as a compliment to other forms of exercise
- Improved performance of specific sport skills (golf, skiing, hockey, etc.)
- Enhanced balance, coordination and circulation
Will I get the same result with a mat class that I would on a Reformer or with other Pilates equipment?
Mat-based workouts are very convenient and can be done anywhere. Adding resistance equipment will place more emphasis on your outer limbs and will add variety and intensity to your program.
If I’m doing Pilates, should I still do my regular workout?
When deciding upon a fitness routine, it’s important to include all three components of fitness: cardio-vascular, strength training, and flexibility. When performed at an advanced level, Pilates can be a cardio-vascular workout, but is generally intended to target strengthening and flexibility.
It would be advisable to combine your Pilates program with another form of cardio exercise such as walking, running, hiking, or biking.
How does Pilates differ from a weight training program at the gym?
Pilates exercises are performed using all movement planes, are easy on the joints, build long and lean muscles, and prevent injuries.
Weight training and Pilates can be combined in your fitness program and are a great compliment to each other.
What if I have difficulty lying down on the floor? Could I still do Pilates?
Begin Pilates instructors will assess your abilities and limitations before you start your program and determine which level and type of class would suit you best.
We have a program that is uniquely suited for people who are not easily able to lie down on the floor and get back up: the Grace Pilates Method® class on the Begin Chair™ (see Begin Chair™ for more information).