Sep 20, 2022


Simon has been practicing Pilates for almost a year now – doing a couple of sessions a week at the Bodyworks West studio in London.

Like yoga, Pilates has many fans around the world, and Simon has already benefitted from it.

The series of 50 repetitive exercises was invented by a German physical trainer called Joseph Pilates, who was living in London when the First World War broke out. Along with many German citizens, he was interned in the Isle of Man for the duration of the war, and was put to work as an orderly in a hospital.

A proponent of martial arts, zen meditation, Greek and Roman exercise regimes and yoga, Joseph applied his skills and knowledge to help wounded soldiers to regain mobility. He encouraged them to carry out a series of small exercises, while supported by springs he attached to the bed frames.

After the war, he took his programme to the US, developing the system to integrate 50 specific exercises to improve strength, flexibility, posture, balance and endurance.

All Pilates exercises flow from what are known as the ‘five essentials’: – breathing, cervical alignment, rib and scapular stabilisation, pelvic mobility and using the transverse abdominis (deep core muscles).

Each exercise starts by stabilising the ‘core muscles’: particularly focusing on the abdominal, gluteal, and paraspinal muscles, and then proceeds through a controlled range of motion.

Pilates can either be done on a mat on the floor, or using a special frame (known as a Reformer), with light springs to support and guide the movements.

While there are few empirical studies on the benefits of Pilates, devotees claim that it increases flexibility, balance, core strength and circulation – with a knock-on effect of improving everything from posture to the effects of arthritis, and from improved performance in sport to mental health.

Simon attends a one-to-one Pilates class twice a week at Bodyworks West in London. The sessions are done using a Reformer, and he generally combines it with a swim afterwards. Since he started Pilates in February this year, his general mobility and posture have improved, and his energy levels have increased.

Pilates in Simon’s experience, improves posture, core strength, general mobility and general fitness levels.  This is particularly the case if it is combined with strength training and cardiovascular exercise

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