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Pilates

Pilates is a series of exercises designed to improve flexibility, strength and posture.
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History
Developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, the practice combines many physical training regimes that were popular in Germany during his childhood. What sets Pilates apart from other regimes is a set of equipment, each designed to stretch and strengthen. The most popular piece of equipment is the Reformer.

Where
Pilates should be practiced in a studio with a certified instructor. Given the specificity of body position and exact movements, it is best to have an instructor guiding the exercises. There are Pilates studios all over Canada and many gyms offer Pilates classes as well. If there isn’t a class close by, there are videos that provide step-by-step instruction for the at-home student.

How to play
If enrolled in a class, an instructor will guide you through a set of exercises that start with controlled breathing. Proper, full inhalation and exhalation are integral to the practice of Pilates. Other areas the instructor will focus on are Control (or Contrology as Joseph Pilates preferred to call it), Flow and Postural Alignment. All exercises are performed with these things in mind. Some of the exercises incorporated into a Pilates class or at-home video include: the hundred – an abdominal exercise involving lifting the legs off of the ground, while engaging the core; the roll up – another core exercise similar to a sit up; the spine stretch – a sitting stretch that elongates the spine and hamstrings; and lastly, the roll over – an exercise that has the student bring their legs right over their head while lying down and keeping their hands on the mat.

Suggested equipment
- Mat
- Elastic bands of varying tension
- Equipment – reformer, metal line, chair, and pedi pole,
- Comfortable clothing

Adaptations
Physical activity in Canada includes everyone, regardless of any ability or circumstance. Some sports and activities may, however, require a few adaptations to make them as accessible as possible. Below you’ll find recommendations and suggestions on how to accommodate individuals that may have limitations or different needs. With a positive attitude and a little ingenuity, any activity can be made enjoyable for all.
Sensory
Pilates is an activity that has various types of exercise using a mat or piece of equipment. Start with activities of comfort and progress as desired. For those with a visual impairment, it might be helpful to participate with a sighted person to provide instructions. Stay close to the instructor to hear instructions or follow visually. Hands on demonstration can be helpful.
Learning/Cognitive Disabilities
Pilates is an activity that has various types of exercise using a mat or piece of equipment. Start with activities of comfort and progress as desired. Be clear with instructions and provide demonstration. Having pictures posted is also a good learning method. Be positive and have fun!
Mobility Limitation
Pilates is an activity that has various types of exercise using a mat or piece of equipment. Start with activities of comfort and progress as desired. Modify mat activities for those that prefer to participate in a seated position. Focus on the abilities of the individuals and not the limitation.

Benefits of Pilates

The Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines outline the amount and type of physical activity you need at every age and stage of life. And, for the first time, the new 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children & Youth also include sleep. Following the guidelines will help reduce the risk of chronic disease, lead to a more focused mind, a stronger, fitter body, and all in all, a more enjoyable life.

See Benefits and Guidelines

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