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June 2009 Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource Highlights Summer Skin Problems, Low Vision and Pilates
Date:7/7/2009

or Pilates because it can provide a nicely toned look without adding bulk. Practiced regularly, Pilates can assist with weight loss and help alleviate low back pain.

Pilates isn't new. In the early 20th century, Joseph Pilates, a German citizen, developed a system to help his fellow inmates at a World War I internment camp stay physically conditioned. He later opened a studio in New York where his teaching gained a following in the dance and performance arts communities.

Today, Pilates classes are widely available at health clubs, studios, community centers and senior centers. Pilates can be done on a floor mat or using specialized equipment, such as stability balls, resistance bands or most often, a Reformer. This piece of equipment consists of a sliding seat and a series of springs and pulleys that allow progressive exercises to strengthen all muscle groups.

A typical Pilates session includes a set of controlled stretches and movements, with participants concentrating on breathing, precision and flowing movements. Instead of emphasizing quantity, Pilates focuses on quality -- doing a few, extremely precise repetitions.

The best way to start is to enroll in a class taught by a qualified instructor. Success with Pilates depends on precision of movement and effort. Proper instruction is key to knowing how to exercise and achieve the benefits.

Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives. Revenue from subscriptions is used to support medical research at Mayo Clinic. To subscribe, please call 1-800-876-8633, extension 9751, (toll-free) or visit www.bookstore.mayoclinic.com.


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