Pilates is a form of exercise invented by Joseph Pilates, a German fitness enthusiast born to a naturopath mum and a gymnast dad (which explains a lot). He says the focus is in Contrology – slow, calibrated body movements. It is said to be good for strength development, because it tones and stretches your muscles, expands your flexibility levels, and keeps you mindful and present. Some say it helps with back pain and stability in elder practitioners, but that’s largely anecdotal. Pilates does offer a full-body workout, and it’s especially good for your core. It incorporates balance and breathing exercises as well, so it can be quite relaxing, and it can do wonders for your posture.
Grace and power
It looks (and feels) much easier than it actually is. When someone unfamiliar with Pilates follows along with a video, they might not feel like they’re doing much. But the aches and pains that haunt them the next day prove just how hard their body was working. Terms that are frequently applied to the Pilates space include focus, centering, flow, control, and precision.
As you practice, you improve your stamina and concentration levels, so you can hold tough positions for longer periods. It’s a very conscious kind of exercise, fully engaging your body and mind, so it can be almost meditative. And because all your moves are measured and deliberate, form is important – both for efficacy and to avoid injury. Done right, it limbers you up, making you stand taller and enhancing your confidence levels – along with your fitness.
The routine is more about strength training, so it’s not the fastest way to lose weight. Practitioners learn to do some really impressive things with their body though, and the sense of self-control can spill into other areas of life. You realize how far you can push your limits, and your attitude towards ‘the impossible’ is liable to shift.
Some people confuse Pilates and yoga though, because they both involve deep breathing and contorted limbs. But while some of the moves are similar, Pilates focuses on muscle relaxation and strength-work, while yoga is more about joints and mind-body-spirit unification. Both exercises are often performed on springy mats, in spandex, which essentially means there’s no room for a purse or wallet on your person.
But there’s always room to slip a little card into their body-hugging outfits. So your Pilates center patrons probably prefer to pay that way. Talk to your merchant processor about portable card readers or smartphone payment apps. They both make it easier to swipe at sessions.
For more information on credit card processing for Pilates centers in Boston, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.