Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Joseph Pilates

"After 10 sessions you"ll notice a difference, after 20 others will notice, after 30 you will have a whole new body...." Joseph Pilates

  • Born in 1880, Joseph Pilates was a sickly child, suffering from various ailments, including asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. Determined to overcome his physical weakness, he dedicated himself to becoming physically fit and strong. He became proficient at various activities, including bodybuilding, diving, skiing, and gymnastics. At fourteen, he became so physically fit that he was able to work as a model for anatomical charts!

  • During World War I, he was taken prisoner of war because of his nationality. Pilates became a hospital nurse in a camp on the Isle of Man, where he developed a fitness routine for the other internees. After a flu epidemic that killed thousands, Joseph Pilates fitness regimen was given credit for the fact that none of these inmates succumed to the virus.

  • In 1926, after the war, Pilates set sail for the U.S. He arrived in New York and set up his first exercise studio. By the 1940's, he had achieved great popularity in the dance world. By the 1960's many of New Yorks's dancers, actors, gymnasts, and athletes were regular visitors to his studio.

  • The original exercises, devised by Pilates in the 1920's, consist of thirty-four moves. His influences came from his studies of various sports and exercise routines from both Eastern and Western disciplines.

  • His routine was designed as a health care program used to improve an individuals overall fitness and well being. Pilates never formalized his routine, but adapted the moves to the needs of teach individual. That said, many of his followers have developed their own version of the Pilates technique. Although the basic principles of Pilates are unchanging, the actual teachings may vary slightly in style and emphasis.

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