Pilates is named after John Pilates (1880-1967) who was a German physical fitness specialist and created the system. It is a series of exercises using special apparatus or just your body weight. It is designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, posture, co-ordination, balance, muscle definition and enhance mental awareness. Many of the moves were inspired by yoga or patterned after the movements of zoo animals such as swans, seals, and big cats. Pilates is an incredibly beneficial and rewarding. You really feel and see the benefits.
The exercise requires concentration as you engage most of your body when doing moves. Even when your focus on strengthening just one muscle you are probably strengthening multiple muscles as well as stretching other muscles at the same time. The moves always have multiple versions so there is always room no matter what level of fitness you have.
Originally Mr Pilates created over 500 exercises for his system and 34 were mat based exercises. Mat work sometimes involves the traditional pilates equipment such as magic circles or hand weights, as well as non-pilates gear such as stretch bands, gym balls and foam rollers. Pilates that is apparatus based involves Joseph Pilates designed equipment, such as the Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Spine Corrector and Ladder Barrel.