Boredom can be the biggest enemy when it comes to an exercise plan, to spice things up, I have recently embarked on a fitness journey of learning Reformer Pilates at Bodytree Studio. This will mix up my weekly physical activity programme which also includes strength training and high intensity interval training. Before taking the Reformer Pilates class it is recommended that you take the Pre-Reformer class which allows you to become familiar with the apparatus. This runs over 4 weeks, one class per week.
According to the World Health Organisation (2011) adults aged between 18-64 should aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes and increasing to 300 minutes of physical activity per week or at least 75 minutes of intense exercise and increasing to 150 minutes. The WHO (2011) stipulates that muscle strengthening exercises should be implemented 2 or more days per week. These guidelines will benefit bone health, muscular fitness, cardiorespiratory, healthy body mass and composition and depression. So the key message is to get active and get moving.
Background Information about Pilates
Joseph Pilates founded Pilates in 1914 during World War I. It was originally known as “contrology”, meaning the science of control. Wells, Kolt & Bialocerkowski (2012) suggest that Pilates is an exercise that encompasses the mind and body with a focus on core stability, strength and flexibility. Throughout the movements there is particular attention to muscle control, posture and breathing. Exercises can be mat based or specialised equipment.
Anatomy of a Reformer
As you can see from the image above the reformer is a bed like piece of equipment. Evans (2003) states that the reformer utilizes 200 exercises with various settings. Exercises can be performed in lying, standing, sitting and kneeling positions.
- The carriage , bed like piece – glides back and forth throughout the exercises.
- Foot bar or can be used for hands – allow you to glide in the carriage during the movements.
- Springs – these provide resistance during the movements, there is usually 5 springs which vary in resistance.
- Ropes and Pulleys – slip hands into the loops (see image) to work shoulder muscles and is used an alternative to the footbar.
- Headrest – used to rest head during movements.
- Shoulder rest – when lying down the shoulder presses against foam pad.
If you are looking for a fun and challenging workout Reformer Pilates could be exactly what you are looking for. I really enjoyed the class and I am keen to pursue my interests further.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”, ( Joseph Addison).
- Evans, B. (2003) “Anatomy of a reformer: What to look for in this classic piece of Pilates”, IDEA Health & Fitness, 21 (10) : 28
- Wells, C., Kolt, G.S. & Bialocerkowski, A. (2012) “Defining Pilates exercise: A systematic review”, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 20 : 253-262.
- World Health Organisation (2011) “Global recommendations on physical activity for health”. Available at: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/physical-activity-recommendations-18-64years.pdf?ua=1 [accessed on 2nd March 2015].