FAQ

Q. When can I expect to see results?
Q. Am I the right age to do Pilates?
Q. Is Pilates mainly for women?
Q. Is Pilates like Yoga?
Q. Is Pilates just another exercise fad?
Q. Can I do Pilates when I am pregnant?

Q. When can I expect to see results?

‘In ten sessions’, suggested Joseph Pilates himself, ‘you will feel the difference; in 20 you will see the difference; and in 30 you will have a whole new body’.

Most people do start to feel a difference after 10 sessions, getting the sense, for example, that they are walking taller and moving in a looser, suppler way.

The longer they persist, the more they will tend to see and feel the shape of their body slowly change.

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Q. Am I the right age to do Pilates?

Pilates is still popular with dancers, gymnasts, athletes and others in their physical prime but it is equally suitable for almost any age. Indeed, one of the beauties of Pilates is that it can be tailored to suit each person, whatever their age or physical condition.

Many clients are middle-aged or elderly. Indeed, more than a few start doing Pilates specifically because they have reached ‘a certain age’, realised that they no longer take any exercise and suddenly thought, ‘My goodness, I have to start to do something, or else I’ll fall apart’.

Your true age, in the end, of course, is as much a function of how we feel rather than the date on your birth certificate. As Joseph Pilates himself put it: ‘If, at the age of 30, you are stiff and out of shape, you are old. If, at 60, you are supple and strong, then you are young.’

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Q. Is Pilates mainly for women?

Far from it. Pilates, after all, was invented by a man, Joseph Pilates, originally for his own benefit – and was only later adapted for women.

Men, what’s more, tend to be less flexible than women, and so to need Pilates even more.

Countless celebrity devotees of Pilates, from Hugh Grant to Martin Amis, John Cleese to Madonna, Patrick Swayze, and an ever-growing number of famous footballers, rugby players, cricketers and other professional athletes.

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Q. Is Pilates like Yoga?

The difference between Pilates and Yoga, reckons one Californian fitness instructor, is as follows: ‘One is eyes closed and think of God; and one is eyes open, think of your butt’.

Yes, there are similarities between Pilates and Yoga, partly because Joseph Pilates consciously drew on both Eastern and Western traditions when first developing his method.

However, there are also key differences. Pilates, for example, is more dynamic than Yoga, which places more emphasis on the static holding of certain poses.

Pilates also focuses more on strengthening the deepest layers of abdominal muscles, which form a corset around your torso. If you have the time, there is no reason why you should not do both and get different benefits from each.

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Q. Is Pilates just another exercise fad?

This may seem a strange question to ask about an exercise method that was invented almost a century ago and has had a devoted following for many long decades.

But the answer is simple: no. And so is the reason: Because it works.

Joseph Pilates always said that his method was 50 years ahead of his time The current growth in popularity of Pilates is simply the fulfilment of his longstanding prediction.

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Q. Can I do Pilates when I am pregnant?

You should check with your doctor before doing any kind of exercise during pregnancy. However, Pilates tends to be particularly suitable for pregnant women, since it is a low-impact form of exercise that strengthens the back, stomach and pelvic floor muscles.

In fact, many women first discover Pilates either when they are pregnant or have just given birth. You may need to do Pilates in a modified or gentler way while pregnant, and to make sure you stop the moment that you feel any discomfort.

A properly tailored Pilates programme, however, can be the ideal way to lessen or avoid the back-pain commonly experienced during late pregnancy and to enable your body to regain its shape rapidly after birth.

Hugh Grant, the film star, bragged after taking up Pilates, ‘Now I have muscles of steel and could easily deal with giving birth’.

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