Have You Tried Pilates Yet?
The century-old exercise program called Pilates is experiencing a resurgence as people look for better ways to exercise and improve strength and well-being.
As a result, she says, people forget how to move their bodies
and articulate through the spine. Pilates gives that back.
Another advantage, says Carpenter, is that people with chronic
injuries or painful physical conditions such as arthritis can rehabilitate
using the apparatus without risking injury. But she does warn against just
anybody running out to take a mat class.
"The downside is, some of the moves in a mat class are very
difficult, even for a fit person. You need to respect your body and know what
your limitations are," says Carpenter.
It's also important to be an educated consumer.
The increasing demand for Pilates classes, particularly in
gyms, has created problems, according to longtime Pilates instructors. With no
regulating body overseeing training, there are vastly different levels of
education among teachers.
Kevin Bowen, president of the Pilates Method Alliance, a
nonprofit professional advocacy group, warns those interested in learning the
method to seek out an instructor who has been through a qualified,
comprehensive teacher training program.
"There are currently no national education standards,"
says Bowen, "so training programs run the gamut from six hours to 900, and
anyone can say they're a Pilates teacher and the public is none the
The group is working to change that and create a national
Done correctly, say proponents, there's no end to the benefits
long after leaving the studio.
"Pilates helps people become more conscious of their
posture, how they move, sit, and stand," says George. "They can learn a
lot of things with a good Pilates instructor that can affect the rest of their