“You will feel better in ten sessions, look better in twenty sessions, and have a completely new body in thirty sessions.” Joseph Pilates
This small holiday resort on the far northern coast of Mallorca provides the perfect setting for combining the powerful benefits of core focus Pilates with the energising elements of nature, and a cunning way of earning yourself carte blanche to enjoy all the less healthy joys of holiday living.
Take a couple of Pilates classes while on holiday in Puerto Pollensa and feel free to spend the rest of your holidays sipping chilled cocktails at the beach bar on the bay.
Pilates will make you feel better, breathe deeper, stand taller, look wonderful and live longer
Run by long time Mallorca resident Rachel Schuckburgh, Simply Pilates is a just that... no fluff and no fakery, just one hell of a professional teacher in a large airy room and a hard-core one hour long class that varies every time, so you never really know what you will be getting, but you know you will be leaving hot, sweaty and better in every way.
Classes are attended by men and women ranging from around 20 something to well in their 60s, a mix of local and foreign residents with the odd tourist, and the long term members of the group have been coming for up to 7 years. And yes, they swear by it.
Following operations and health problems, back aches and breakages, people find that the low impact, deep muscle training provided by regular high end Pilates classes brings far reaching benefits and most importantly perhaps, protects and equips your body against further injury.
Classes last an hour and run mornings and afternoons in the studio, or at any time at your hotel. You will carry out most of the exercises on a mat sometimes with balls or bands or neither.
As there are levels to each exercise, depending on how much you push yourself, classes can be attended by beginners, intermediate and advanced students. However, if you are new to Pilates you may be better off booking a couple of private one on one classes to get you up to speed and join the group classes on your next holiday to Puerto Pollensa.
Whether it's cardiovascular, flexibility exercises, aerobics, dynamic-strength training, circuit or static training, Yoga, Pilates, TRX suspension, weights, CrossFit... there are so many new strange sounding fitness classes and techniques around; it's hard to keep up!
And a quick browse of the web will give you endless lists of Pilates blogs, webpages and YouTube videos illustrating and exalting the all-round awesomeness of Pilates.
But still none the wiser...
According to Rachel at Simply Pilates in Puerto Pollensa, Pilates is a dynamic flow of movements, so precise, you can't get it wrong, and so amazing, that she could go on about it all day. It is a physical fitness system that uses very precise movements to build strength, flexibility and lean muscle tone, and uses correct alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement to strengthen the body from within.
What we are really talking about here is your core, your powerhouse in Pilates speak, which is basically your torso, the area between your shoulders and your pelvis. And if you take a look at a skeleton in a biology class it sort of stands to reason that THAT is where you would want to be strongest, to hold the whole jingly bag of bones together.
And the wonderful thing about Pilates is... it works!
Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. That's 134 years ago. Obviously Mr Pilates didn't invent the technique at birth, but he had developed much of what would later be termed Pilates by 1918, and that's 99 years ago.
Born sickly and asthmatic he soon became interested in exercise and health.
He developed the techniques initially in the POW camps of the UK, rigging springs to hospital beds, effectively enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance. When the influenza epidemic decimated England, not one of Joseph's patients died, leading him to proclaim the benefits of his method.
Once released he worked closely with dancers back in Germany and in 1926 he emigrated to the United states and opened his first studio in the same premises as the New York City Ballet.
From this point on, Pilates is history… or rather, very much a part of the present.
Though it has taken some time to catch on, now at long last Pilates has become mainstream, reaching millions of people.
With Pilates much like yoga and most other forms of exercise you have two schools of thought; one the die-hard evangelical addicts who live and breathe sport and then the ones who refuse point blank to even step near a mat.
It’s hard to find a middle ground.
After all if you want to lose weight you can simply diet and if you want to get strong you can do weights. But hard-core exercise is extremely hard work.
But hard core exercise is where it's at!
Research is finding more and more indications that doing full on workouts will protect you from disease, depression and wait for it... aging!
Vigorous exercise keeps you young on a cellular level.
A study carried out in the States on 5,823 adults between 1999 and 2002 for Preventative Medicine found that people who do regular vigorous exercise were significantly biologically younger.
They had consistently longer telomeres, which are the protective ends of chromosomes.
Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter, eventually becoming too small to protect the cell, and the cell gets old and dies, leading to aging. Short telomeres are related to cancer, strokes and cardiovascular diseases.
So it stands to reason that keeping those telomeres healthy is the way forward.
There is a whole stream of good reasons to take up Pilates.
So, aside from being terribly good for your back; giving you a straighter spine and good for your head; relieving stress, insomnia and depression, and improving coordination and balance and rehabilitating past injuries while helping prevent new ones, well, Pilates makes you look good.
Let's face it, for the vast majority of us, the incentive to do any exercise, when you could be, well, not doing anything at all, is ultimately to look fabulous.
And Pilates does make you look fabulous!
It gives you a lean, flat tummy, a gorgeously toned and flexible body and an elegant posture. And it makes you relaxed and happy.
Just take a look at your instructor if you want confirmation.
She wouldn't look like that if she only ate cake!
For more info and bookings go to SIMPLY PILATES!