Surprising Types of People Pilates is Perfect For



When Joseph Pilates created his groundbreaking method of body conditioning, he envisioned people around the world doing his exercises, from childhood throughout adulthood. That means everybody—and every body—can and should do Pilates.

At my Pilates studio, I occasionally speak with people who’d like to try the method but don’t think it’s meant for them or worry that they can’t do it. To clear up those mistaken assumptions, here is a list five types of people who, in my 15 years’ experience, I have seen truly benefit from Pilates.

1. Men

A common belief these days is that Pilates is for women—especially dancers—and even that Pilates was created for dancers. That myth is perpetuated by all the Pilates ads that show women doing dancer-type moves on a mat. No wonder men feel self-conscious about taking a Pilates class!

The truth is that Pilates was originally created for everybody, men and women. As a boxer and fencer, Joseph Pilates designed his method as a way of cross-training for the other types of exercise he enjoyed doing. He even designated certain exercises for men. There are many famous photos of him teaching men in his studio, and quite a few of his male clients went on to teach Pilates professionally for the rest of their lives.

My studio has a healthy number of men who attend class right alongside the women. They tell me Pilates has helped their golf game, eliminated their back pain, helped them run faster and better, and improved their flexibility.

Men also tend to assume Pilates is easy, or that it can’t be effective since it doesn’t involve heavy weights. But Pilates trains the body from the inside out, rather than most forms of exercise that work the superficial, large muscles. And it’s those deep, intrinsic muscles that, once toned, create changes in our other sports, our posture, and ultimately our quality of life.

2. Senior Citizens

Joseph Pilates lived well into his 80s, and some of his former students are still alive today, practicing and even teaching the method. Pilates is the perfect exercise for seniors because it improves joint mobility and flexibility and is non-impact. It’s a great way to keep arthritic joints moving.

I see a nice variety of ages in my classes; they’re not just full of young, flexible people. And my senior students tell me how much they’ve benefitted from Pilates. Just the other day, one said he can touch his toes for the first time in years.

There are also the mental and psychological benefits. Studies associate longevity with continuously learning new skills, and a studio setting is a wonderful place to socialize, an activity important to seniors’ happiness.

3. Overweight People

Recently a friend told me she was considering taking a Pilates class—but, she said, “I need to lose some weight first.” That struck me as an odd statement, yet it’s not uncommon. There’s a perception that everyone who does Pilates is thin and extremely flexible. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People of all shapes and sizes attend classes and benefit from Pilates.

In fact, Pilates equipment is particularly beneficial to overweight people, as it supports and assists the exercise movements. The springs, pulleys and bars guide the arms and legs and hold the body in alignment so the back is supported while the core is being worked. Pilates is just about the safest and easiest way to exercise if your weight has been holding you back from joining a gym.

4. People Recovering from Injury

Many people start Pilates after surgery or recovery from an injury as a way to build back strength. While Pilates is exercise and not physical therapy, it’s the perfect way to exercise mindfully when in recovery because it is so biomechanically sound. The equipment holds the body in correct alignment while the springs assist movement and create resistance at the same time. The order of exercises in Pilates puts the body through all planes of movement during the hour, to ultimately recreate balance throughout. Pilates re-strengthens, realigns and rebalances the body in a way that no other exercise method really does.

5. Nine-to-Fivers

I recently saw an article titled “Sitting is the New Smoking.” When we sit all day at work, we end up with tight muscles, low-back pain and neck pain. Pilates is the opposite of all that. The exercises simultaneously stretch the tight spots and strengthen the weak spots—-the ultimate multitasking exercise method. After a full hour of both stretching and strengthening, the body comes into balance and feels good again.

With a regular Pilates practice, the mind-body connection becomes progressively stronger. Pretty soon, even people who have to sit most of the day will do so with better posture and a stronger core connection. Just as Joseph Pilates envisioned, the Pilates Method is for every body.

Elaine Ewing is a Pilates teacher and owner of Rhinebeck Pilates, a classical Pilates studio located at 6400 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck, NY. Her studio is equipped with Gratz equipment and offers private sessions as well as tower, reformer and mat classes. For more info, call the studio at 845.876.5686 or visit RhinebeckPilates.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

News Briefs

Positive Psychology Coaching Empowers Clients

Positive Psychology Coaching Empowers Clients

People aren’t always aware of their strengths and how to use them to make positive changes in their lives.
Family-Friendly Fitness Classes Fuse Yoga, Expressive Dance

Family-Friendly Fitness Classes Fuse Yoga, Expressive Dance

It’s for everyone and every body.
Tara Gregorio Now Offering Stott Pilates in Cold Spring

Tara Gregorio Now Offering Stott Pilates in Cold Spring

The refined method includes modern principles of exercise science and rehabilitation, making it one of the safest and most effective methods available.
Clearwater Festival Seeks Wellness Vendors

Clearwater Festival Seeks Wellness Vendors

June 16 and 17
Garrison Institute Hosts Meditation Workshop and Retreats

Garrison Institute Hosts Meditation Workshop and Retreats

Three meditation programs in February and March
Mindfulness Meditation Training with Melanie Ryan

Mindfulness Meditation Training with Melanie Ryan

The training is intended for those with meditation experience who want to incorporate meditation instruction and mindfulness into their professional work.
Meditation Tour for Beginners in Southern Westchester County

Meditation Tour for Beginners in Southern Westchester County

March 3, from 1 to 2 p.m
Film Series Will Focus on Meditation

Film Series Will Focus on Meditation

February 7 through 27
enerShe fitness Introduces Personal Training for Girls

enerShe fitness Introduces Personal Training for Girls

Now offering one-on-one and small-group personal training for girls ages 8 to 17.
Meditation Offerings at The Temperance Center

Meditation Offerings at The Temperance Center

Our clientele can experience meditation and healing in a variety of ways.
Higher Self Connecting Circle Begins in Cold Spring

Higher Self Connecting Circle Begins in Cold Spring

The sessions will be held on four sundays—February 11 and 25 and March 11 and 25—from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Shira Adler Releases “Definitive” Book on CBD

Shira Adler Releases “Definitive” Book on CBD

The book explains “why pot is not what we were taught” and answers many of the questions people have about CBD.
Sign-Up Opens for Hilltop Hanover Farm CSA

Sign-Up Opens for Hilltop Hanover Farm CSA

The CSA season begins in June and ends in mid-october.
Waken the Heart with Prema Agni Activation

Waken the Heart with Prema Agni Activation

This sacred symbol and energy healing system allows us to give and receive love more deeply.
Westchester Buddhist Center Holds Sixth Annual Retreat

Westchester Buddhist Center Holds Sixth Annual Retreat

February 16 to 23
EagleFest Celebrates Lower Hudson Valley’s Winter Visitors

EagleFest Celebrates Lower Hudson Valley’s Winter Visitors

February 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
The Freight House Café Presents Vagina Monologues

The Freight House Café Presents Vagina Monologues

Three shows February 9 through 11
Yoga Teachers Association Hosts “Ayurveda and Yoga” with Deirdre Breen

Yoga Teachers Association Hosts “Ayurveda and Yoga” with Deirdre Breen

February 10, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Slow Medicine Wellness in Katonah Launches Free Programming

Slow Medicine Wellness in Katonah Launches Free Programming

They include a weekly presentation and Q&A; guided meditations; drumming; a spiritual development series; qigong; ayurvedic/dosha coaching; and other holistic programming.
Dutchess County Interfaith Council Appoints Executive Director

Dutchess County Interfaith Council Appoints Executive Director

“I’m honored to serve the council and our community in this new role."
Holistic Moms Network Hosts Ayurveda Expert

Holistic Moms Network Hosts Ayurveda Expert

February 22, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Craniosacral Therapy Workshop in Mount Kisco

Craniosacral Therapy Workshop in Mount Kisco

March 10, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Yonkers Completes $400K in Clean Energy Projects

Yonkers Completes $400K in Clean Energy Projects

The project is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Power Authority’s Five Cities Energy Plans initiative.
Sita’s Light Announces Kirtans in December

Sita’s Light Announces Kirtans in December

Group devotional singing that extends across cultures, races and religions
Greene Healing Partnership Promotes Self-Care

Greene Healing Partnership Promotes Self-Care

Onsite events, educational programs, collaborative wellness seminars, lunch and learns, practitioner meet-ups and Evenings of Wellness
Smart Commute Means Less Stress

Smart Commute Means Less Stress

Can help save time and money, reduce stress, reduce employees’ carbon footprint, increase their sense of community and contribute to a better quality of life.
Holistic Moms Network to Discuss Homeopathy

Holistic Moms Network to Discuss Homeopathy

“My main goal has always been to help patients decrease their dependency on pharmaceutical drugs and help bring them to a higher level of health.”
Local Healing Artist to Release Book and Video

Local Healing Artist to Release Book and Video

"Infuse your body, mind and soul with inspiration and vitality; and fill you with peace, comfort, warmth and love."