People are finally realizing that looking after the body, mind and soul is essential to living a longer, happier life. Pilates is spearheading this fitness fusion for all ages and stages.
The public’s approach to health and fitness is
constantly changing. Today, people are becoming more in
tune with their bodies and want an all-encompassing
method of exercise to meet their varying needs. Whether
your desire is to sculpt a toned physique, prevent injury
for athletics, increase overall strength, relieve stress, or
get back in shape after the holidays – Pilates is for you.
Pilates is leading the fitness frontier as the ideal
form of exercise to facilitate the mind-body connection
for everyone. The Sporting Goods Manufacturing
Association reports that there was a 602% increase in
Pilates participants in the USA between 2000 and 2006.
“Pilates helps build strong, healthy muscles,
improves blood flow, and engages all the muscles at the
right time – therefore working your body inside and out
for optimal body conditioning,” explains Moira Merrithew,
Executive Director of Education for STOTT PILATES®.
“Pilates is ideal for anyone wanting to expand their
exercise regimens to include overall toning and
strengthening moves that also work the inner mechanism
of the body. This goes for any age or fitness level.”
Fitness facilities and gym owners are realizing this
booming interest in Pilates and starting to incorporate
comprehensive Pilates repertoire into their daily
programs. According to the 2007 IDEA Fitness Programs
and Equipment Survey, 68 percent of facilities surveyed
have Pilates as one of their program offerings. This is a
49 percent increase compared to when IDEA first started
tracking Pilates in 1999. As a result, Pilates is gaining
momentum in the mainstream fitness market.
The appeal of Pilates for the average person, or
newcomer to fitness, is that there are various
programming options. Specific repertoires are available
for sports fanatics who want to build core strength and
improve their golf drive; elite athletes who want to
prevent or attend to injuries; rehab and prenatal clients
who want to enhance their fitness ability; new moms who
want to get their pre-baby shape back; and mature adults
who simply want to make getting out of bed easier. Every
exerciser from school-aged kids to the active adult can
reap the benefits of this form of exercise – and at the
same time get a good workout.
Many men are also incorporating Pilates into their athletic training.
Lindsay Merrithew, CEO and President of STOTT PILATES says more
and more pro athletes are turning to this method for rehab and strength
conditioning purposes. “These are guys who go through intense training
for their sport. Perhaps they are introduced to it while on the mend
from injury, but most are sticking with it throughout the season. Either
way, elite athletes are participating and the rest of the industry is
Pilates was still a relatively unknown method of exercise when the
Merrithews first opened their Toronto studio back in 1987. Lindsay
constructed Moira’s first piece of Pilates equipment called a “Reformer”
out of sheer necessity. This machine was at first constructed out of
wood, but soon Lindsay decided to design one made out of metal in
order to accommodate adjustability issues among clients with
“We thought of creating a Reformer that had adjustability to suit
the user and that was both ergonomically and esthetically appealing,”
explains Lindsay. They wanted to build a better “mousetrap” and so
The Reformer is generally the first piece of equipment that Pilates
instructors and enthusiasts gravitate toward for a stellar, body-sculpting
workout. This machine is unlike the typical Stair Climber, Bike, or
Treadmill – it’s designed to leverage specific Pilates movements to
improve the overall mind and body connection. It also helps develop
lean muscles overall, without adding bulk.
Today, Pilates enthusiasts can use Matwork and/or equipmentbased
Pilates programming to fulfill their health and fitness goals – and
as a result, more and more facilities are implementing high-quality
equipment and training into their locations to fulfill their unique needs.
EXERCISE FOR A LIFETIME
So remember, Pilates is for everyone. It’s a kinder, gentler exercise
for your body with all of the benefits of strength training. No matter
what age, ability or goal – those interested in enhancing their health,
fitness, and lifestyle in general, are sure to enjoy what this method of
exercise has to offer.