Pilates is a fitness method developed in the early 1900s by Joseph Pilates with the purpose to improve posture, to make the movements more harmonious and to reshape the body. Joseph Pilates created this method with the aim to support the injured dancers on their path to rehabilitation, he mixed the strength, typical of the Occidental exercises, with the calm and concentration of Oriental practice and meditation. Many pilates exercises remind indeed of the yoga poses and in fact this is where these exercises come from. The ancient asana (namely yoga poses) have been studied and reinvented in order to strengthen the abdominal muscles and the muscles of the back that support the spine and that, in this way, become more robust and flexible thanks to this practice. In any case, each pilates exercise involves the totality of the muscles in body, from head to toe, and requires a lot of concentration in order to move in a coordinate, fluid and correct way. The breath isn’t disordered but goes together with the movements of the body, it creates a perfect single unit that acts in the space. Pilates is suitable for everybody, in fact it was born as a training for rehabilitation after injures, however, also the simplest exercise should be done with attention in order to involve all the muscles of the body. It is for this characteristic that the pilates exercises should not be repeated a several number of times, as it happens with other types of gym. After all, according to Joseph Pilates, “A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion”, but constancy is required. Pilates can be done without specific tools or you can use elastics, handles or also particular machines but in general every exercise can be repeat at home in order to bring benefit to the body, to strengthen the back, to improve the posture, to help the healing and the rehabilitation but also to bring calm and to counteract stress and anxiety. An example of pilates exercise? That called The Hundred (see the figure), you are lying on the mat, keep your arms out straight with the palms facing down. Lift the head and look the navel, bring the legs at 45° from the floor, stretch them. Lift slightly also the arms that should remain parallel to the floor and move your arms in a controlled up and down manner. The movements are quick and small. Inhale and count 5 movements, exhale and count 5 movements. Repeat for ten times. A good exercise to concentrate on the breath but also to strengthen the abdominal muscles! The Hundred, as well other pilates exercises, will be the subject of the new video section about pilates and fitness starting from this Friday!