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Pilates for Everyone

By: Dr. Caroline Joy PT, DPT and Certified Pilates Instructor

Pilates is a form of mind-body exercise that requires core stability, strength, and flexibility. It  emphasizes full body muscle control, breathing and posture. The exercise form has gained increased popularity in the past two years, and as a Pilates instructor I hope the trend continues for the sake of all its benefits!

History of Pilates

Pilates was first founded by Joseph Pilates through his determination to strengthen his body after dealing with the lasting effects of asthma and rickets as a child (1), but it wasn’t popularized until early 1900s when the exercise form served non ambulatory soldiers during late WW1. Doctors noted how rapidly patients recovered when Joseph Pilates applied his principles. 

Basic Principles of Pilates

Pilates emphasizes six basic principles, as taught by Joseph Pilates. The principles include centering/stabilization, control, concentration, flow, breath, and precision. These principles are all taught by a certified instructor to encourage Centering/stabilization stems from the initiation movement from a stable source (that being the body itself) and utilizing opposition, whereas control prioritizes the mastery of planning/sequencing during a session. Concentration requires mindful intent and focus demonstrated throughout movement whereas flow masters the art of smooth transitions across exercise. Pilates encourages a steady breath with facilitation of the core to support movements. Lastly, precision honors both detail and alignment of the body during a Pilates session. (2)

Benefits of Pilates

Research supports Pilates improving posture, balance, reduction of injuries, improved strength/core stability, improved flexibility, and improved mental fitness. In simpler terms, Pilates has been noted to improve strength, mobility, pain levels, and overall quality of life.(3,4)

Who Can Participate

Pilates is beneficial for all ages and people, which happens to be one of my favorite things about it. There are limited contraindications for participation including pre-eclampsia and unstable fractures. Clients with acute pain/severe night pain, potential fractures/tumors, abdominal hernias, or infections should be cleared by a Medical Doctor prior to participating.(5)

If you found this article interesting, consider starting your Pilates training and getting connected with a certified instructor! Feel free to request more information on our mat and reformer Pilates training sessions offered at our Clifton Park clinic here:


1.Kloubec J. Pilates: how does it work and who needs it? Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2011;1(2):61-66

2. Power Pilates Book for Training Certified Instructors

3. Natour J, Cazotti L de A, Ribeiro LH, Baptista AS, Jones A. Pilates improves pain, function and quality of life in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2015;29(1):59-68. doi:10.1177/0269215514538981

4. Eyigor S, Karapolat H, Yesil H, Uslu R, Durmaz B. Effects of Pilates exercises on functional capacity, flexibility, fatigue, depression and quality of life in female breast cancer patients: a randomized controlled study. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL AND REHABILITATION MEDICINE. 2010;46(4):7

5. Defining Clinical Pilates exercises and its indications for treatment. Rayner & Smale. Accessed May 18, 2022. 

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