This physical fitness system was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. As of 2005, there were 11 million people who practiced this method regularly and there were approximately 14,000 instructors in the U.S.A.
Pilates names his method of exercise Contrology as he believed that his Pilates Method used one’s mind to control the body’s muscles.
The program’s main focus is on the core postural muscles. These help to keep the body balanced, and these muscles also help to provide support for the spine.
Pilates exercises make a person aware of breath and the alignment of the spine. An emphasis is also placed on strengthening the deep torso muscles which are so important in helping to alleviate and prevent back pain.
Joseph Pilates first formed this method during World War I in an effort to improve the rehabilitation program that would be needed by many of the returning veterans.
He believed that physical and mental health are essential to each other. His precise movements emphasized form and control to help the injured soldiers regain their health by stretching, strengthening and stabilizing key muscles.