People who want to improve their quality of life and physical conditioning, through the practice of an activity, but who do not like to exercise outdoors or go to gyms, the pilates can be an alternative. Pregnant women, the elderly, athletes, sedentary or injured individuals, anyone can do the sport.
The practice works the muscles of the body, the mind, in addition to helping flexibility, concentration and breathing. By combining these benefits, physical activity is constantly indicated for people who suffer from chronic pain, poor posture, back problems, joints, among others.
created by german Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1883-1967) around 1900, the technique is a physical exercise that offers several benefits for the body and mind, meeting the needs of very different audiences, ranging from pregnant women and the elderly to athletes, people with reduced mobility and in rehabilitation.
The movements developed by the creator work the muscle strengthening and flexibility at the same time, mixing resistance and isometrics — static exercises — which require concentration, coordinated breathing, and strength.
According to physiotherapist and Pilates instructor, Giuslaine Feitosa, the modality is “an activity that stimulates the body as a whole and combines flexibility, stretching, mobility, muscle strengthening and balance in a single type of exercise for the student”.
The practice is based on some principles: breathing, concentration, control, fluidity, precision and the Power House — refers to the set of muscles that stabilize the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine.
Types of Pilates
The modality has some different categories of practice, which range from aerial exercises to aquatic activities. Although distinct, the specialist emphasizes that all pilates modalities have the same foundation: “Power House activation and body concentration as one”.
Classic: derives from the original exercises developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates, without alteration, and using the apparatus developed by him.
Contemporary: the version follows the same basics as the classic, but brings some functional modifications and accessories, such as elastic bands, which are not used in the original version, and offers more freedom to the instructor.
Aero: the movements come out of the ground and are performed in the air, with the students suspended in circus fabrics. The modality ends up requiring more strength and concentration from the practitioner, as it focuses on balance.
Hydropilates: the type is performed with the individual submerged in a reservoir with water, such as swimming pools. In it, springs are used to provide resistance and rubber spaghetti help the student to float. This modality is indicated for people who have a more fragile structure, because of the low risk of injuries, explains Giuslaine Feitosa.
Ground: in this version the student performs the movements on the floor using gravity and body weight to provide resistance.
What is it for?
The exercise uses the body to psychic junction to encourage good physical conditioning and greater body awareness. In this way, it ends up helping to correct posture, tone muscles and increase flexibility.
Pilates also has the function of helping to rehabilitate the body and prevent chronic pain and injuries, while helping to strengthen the student’s muscles and mobility.
Advantages and benefits
Regular practice of the modality can contribute to several advantages, as explained by the physiotherapist. “The main one is body awareness, because when the student reaches this level, he can develop with more coordination, balance, strength and flexibility”, he highlights.
Other benefits of the practice:
- Reduction of stress, chronic pain and tension;
- Postural correction;
- Stimulation of the circulatory system and blood oxygenation, through the improvement of the respiratory capacity, because when using the deep breathing technique, the student is able to perform a greater oxygenation of the blood and, thus, the functioning of the body improves;
- Joint mobility, flexibility and muscle relaxation;
- Body awareness gain;
- Improvement of motor coordination;
- Increased physical and mental conditioning;
- Strengthening of internal organs;
Are there harms?
No. According to Giuslaine Feitosa, pilates allows the teacher to adapt the technique based on the limitations of each student, “with this everyone can perform the technique and its principles”.
Generally, classes in the modality are more efficient when made with individual form or with a reduced number of students, precisely so that the professional can carry out this more considerate work and be able to respect the condition of each participant and develop it.
But it is also possible to find the activity available for group practice with a large number of people, while for individuals who have specific medical conditions, such as hernias and protrusions, this configuration is not the most suitable.
Do you lose weight?
The practice can help with weight loss, according to the professional. However, she warns that the result in weight loss depends on the commitment level of the practitioner.
“It is possible to lose weight with Pilates, but it depends on the student’s performance to be able to develop the necessary technique”, explains the specialist.
Who is it for?
As it has no contraindication, the modality can be practiced by anyone who wants to develop more physical conditioning and quality of life, since it is possible to “adapt the technique and capture the principles for the student”, explains Giuslaine Feitosa.
People who have never exercised before, sedentary people, the elderly and pregnant, as well as athletes, and injured and recovering individuals can practice Pilates as long as they are accompanied by an instructor.
What pilates does to the body
By contributing to muscle strengthening and increased mobility and flexibility, the modality works mainly to improve the quality of life of practitioners. By decreasing chronic bodily pain, tension and correcting poor posture, exercise helps with routine.
According to the expert, the “main objective of the technique is to bring quality of life in small and large everyday movements”
“Pilates has the ability to make it possible for a person to work or play with their children in a more harmonious way, without feeling pain while doing something simpler in their daily lives”, he says.
Is it possible to define the body with pilates?
Yes. According to Giuslaine Feitosa, it is possible to define the body’s musculature by regularly practicing the sport, as the movements activate the muscles as a whole. The Core region — a set of muscles that encompass and support the trunk and stabilize the spine — is the most worked.
“As one of the fundamentals is the activation of the Power House, which is our balance center for our upper and lower limbs, there is the activation of the deep muscles”, and the definition of this area is one of the consequences, explains the professor.
What do you do in a pilates class
Before starting the modality, it is common for interested parties to undergo a physical assessment, at which time the instructor identifies the student’s limitations and objectives. On top of that initial meeting, the exercise plan is drawn up.
Each Pilates class is unique. Although each modality has its own characteristics, classes in all modalities follow the same principle, as explained by the physiotherapist.
“These are exercises that work at the same time, concentration, activation of body muscles, stretching and strength, all at the same time and in a single activity.”
Giuslaine Feitosa is a physiotherapist graduated from the Estácio do Ceará University Center, with a postgraduate degree in Traumato-Orthopedics. He has a background in Contemporary Pilates Avando and Aeropilates, as well as Posturology, Osteopathy and RPG. The professional is still a manual therapist.