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Pilates

Pilates is a system of over 500 controlled exercises that engage the mind and condition the total body. It is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training that improves posture, reduces stress and creates long, lean muscles without bulking up.

Pilates works several muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous motion, with a particular concentration on strengthening and stabilizing the core.

The focus in Pilates is on quality of movement rather than quantity, which makes one feel invigorated rather than exhausted after a session. Pilates takes a balanced approach so that no muscle group is overworked and the body works as an efficient, holistic system in sport and daily activity.

Some exercises are performed on specialized Pilates equipment including the Pilates Reformer, Cadillac and Ladder Barrel, but the basic system can be done on a standard floor mat. Small accessories including balls, bands and rings can be added to the repertoire for more variety.

Ideally, Pilates is practised in a Pilates studio under the careful supervision of a certified Pilates instructor, either one-on-one or in small group sessions. These professionals are highly trained specialists who know how to tailor a Pilates program to meet individual needs and abilities, monitoring movements to ensure correct form for optimum results.

As Pilates grows in popularity, classes are being offered not only at specialized studios but also at gyms, health clubs, spas, rehabilitation clinics, senior facilities and community centers around the world.

There are also plenty of Pilates videos on the market, - such as the Winsor Pilates, Stott Pilates and Gaiam series - that allow you to experience the strengthening, stretching and toning techniques right at home.

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