Most frequent questions and answers.
Pilates has something to offer people of all ages and levels of ability and fitness, from beginners to elite athletes. The apparatus can be used to provide support for beginners and people with certain medical conditions, as well as resistance for people looking to challenge their body.
Pilates can improve posture, muscle strength, balance and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension. For elite athletes, including dancers, Pilates can complement training by developing whole-body strength and flexibility, and help reduce the risk of injury.
Pilates is classed as a muscle-strengthening activity, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. Classes can vary in intensity: they can be gentle, or dynamic and offer a solid workout.
If you want to lose weight, you’re advised to combine Pilates with a healthy diet and some aerobic activities, such as swimming, walking and cycling.
Matwork may involve 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 with apparatus uses equipment designed by Joseph Pilates, such as the Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Spine Corrector and Ladder Barrel.
Mat and apparatus Pilates can be adapted to suit different levels of fitness and ability. However, if you cannot lie down on a mat for whatever reason, the apparatus can provide alternative ways to exercise.
Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise, so injuries are uncommon. However, it’s important to find a qualified teacher and a class suited to your level of fitness and ability.
Pilates teachers are not medically qualified so, if you’re recovering from injury, you’re advised to check with your GP or relevant health professional on the suitability of certain exercises or movements before starting a class.
There’s some evidence that Pilates can provide pain relief to people with non-specific lower back pain. The use of apparatus enables someone with back pain to perform exercises with support.
For the exercises to be effective, they need to be tailored to the individual and vetted by an appropriately qualified health professional. Pilates teachers are not medically qualified and cannot prescribe, treat or offer therapy.
Pilates can be taught in a dedicated pilates studio with apparatus, or in an open area with mats and small equipment. Both mat and apparatus pilates can be taught privately or in small groups, with most classes lasting 60 minutes. When choosing a Pilates teacher, you should consider their experience and the quality of their training, as well as personality and rapport. Experienced teachers will normally have undergone a minimum of 450 teacher training hours over a period of several months or years.
The questions have been answered by the NHS health professionals and you can find them on their website.