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Pilates offers physical, mental training

The Aug. 26 Wellness Wednesday, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Children’s Hospital lobby, will offer demonstrations on Pilates.

by Gina C. Smith and Jessica Becker
Pilates Instructors
Want to stand taller, feel stronger, and lose inches? If so, then Pilates may be the exercise for you. Did you know there is a Pilates apparatus studio right here at MUSC? The Pilates Studio, located inside the Harper Student Wellness Center, has been helping people feel better for years. Pilates is a method of physical and mental training that can benefit men and women of any age or fitness level.
Joseph Pilates developed this method first to rehabilitate himself as a weak child, and later to rehabilitate soldiers while working as an interned nurse on the Isle of Man during WWI. After immigrating to the United States, Pilates continued to share his method and decades later his exercise regimen continues to help millions get fit and feel better.

How it works
Pilates develops core strength by using the muscles of the pelvis, trunk and shoulder girdle to stabilize the body, thereby providing a solid foundation for all movement. It promotes proper posture and movement by focusing on alignment and strengthening the core stabilizing muscles. Effectively stabilizing your core while using proper breath to execute flowing movement requires a great deal of focus and control. The method was originally called Contrology but later became Pilates, to honor Joseph Pilates.
Pilates tones and strengthens the muscles without creating bulk. An efficient and effective exercise, Pilates emphasizes quality over quantity of movement. Used by many as a form of rehabilitation to treat repetitive stress injuries, postural imbalances and many joint injuries, Pilates exercises increase lung capacity and circulation, improve coordination, and can simultaneously energize and promote relaxation.
“A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced con-tortion,” said Pilates. “In 10 sessions, you will feel the difference. In 20, you will see the difference. And in 30, you’ll be on your way to having a whole new body.”

Who can benefit
While celebrities and professional athletes, including Tiger Woods, the Charleston RiverDogs and members of Cirque du Soleil help publicize the benefits of Pilates, the exercise is equally effective for less-athletic individuals. Pregnant women, individuals with osteoporosis and the average person whose back aches from spending hours working at a desk also can benefit from Pilates.
The Pilates Studio located in the Harper Student Wellness Center offers individualized instruction on apparatus equipment.
In an apparatus session, you can expect to perform focused movements led by a certified instructor in a private or semi-private setting. The Pilates equipment provides weight-bearing exercise effective in building muscle and enhancing flexibility that is safe on the joints.
Instructors from the Pilates Studio will be at Wellness Wednesday between 10-2 on Aug. 26 in the Children’s Hospital and Sept. 2 in Ashley River Tower, to demonstrate Pilates exercises and offer free 20-minute trial sessions. Stop by for more information and to enter the raffle to win a free private Pilates session on the apparatus. Wellness Center members and MUSC students/residents receive a discount, though non-members are also welcome in the studio.
For information, call 792-9702.

Editor's note: The preceding column was brought to you on behalf of Health 1st. Striving to bring various topics and representing numerous employee wellness organizations and committees on campus, this weekly column seeks to provide MUSC, MUHA and UMA employees with current and helpful information concerning all aspects of health.


Friday, Aug. 21, 2009

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