By Danielle Johnson, RDN, CDN
Pilates is a physical fitness system whose benefits include improved flexibility, increased muscle strength (specifically abdominal, low back, hips, butt – AKA the core muscles), and improved balance/stability. Pilates focuses on using intense concentration during exercises that are performed in slow, small sets and can be modified for any persons to participate (even those with limited mobility).
Joseph Pilates, who developed the Pilates system, has now created the Pilates reformer, an apparatus that provides added assistance as well as added intensity. The reformer includes a bed, carriage, springs and straps. The bed is what you sit/lay/kneel/stand on, which lies within/glides in the carriage. The carriage is attached to springs that add tension to the exercise and controls the intensity (come in different strengths/resistances).
According to Joseph Pilates, the springs represent a direct reflection of how the joints function within the body. The reformer also includes straps to be used for hands and/or feet, along with a foot/hand bar at the end. The straps are also used for pulling/pushing to increase resistance and mobility in the different exercises performed and can be pushed/pulled in various directions. While these features can be helpful to increase strength/resistance it also helps assist in stretching and improving flexibility.
The best approach to Pilates is a full body routine, targeting all the major muscle groups to promote unity within the body and everyday life. Pilates studios have been around for a while, but more and more are popping up throughout Long Island, here are a few to try out:
- The Pilates Absession (Rockville Center)
- Body in Balance (Mineola)
- Club Pilates (New Hyde Park, Massapequa, Woodbury)
- The Pilates Studio Inc (Glen Cove)
- Pilates Reforming Long Island (Garden City)
- Port Jefferson Pilates (Port Jefferson)
- Gold Coast Pilates (Setauket)
- Simply Pilates (Smithtown)
- Club Pilates (Commack, Lake Grove)
- Southampton Pilates (Southampton)
For more information about pilates, visit www.pilates.com
Danielle Johnson RDN, CDN is a registered dietitian who specializes in surgical weight loss and medical weight management. She is also completing her Master of Science degree in Integrative Nutrition at Stony Brook University.