www.na The Pilates Body

Sunday, December 03, 2006

New Challenges Lead to New Discoveries: Reflecting On My Blogging Experience

As the semester comes to an end, I look back on the experiences I have had with Blogger. My initial reaction to learning that I would be using Blogger to write and post my essays was one of excitement, but also anxiety. Not only did I have little experience with this type of technology, but I actually had never even heard of a blog. I immediately decided that it would be a new adventure with challenges I could overcome and of which I could be proud when I completed the semester.

Because we were asked to choose a topic in our field of interest or future profession, I felt I could use my Pilates business as a unique area to explore in an academic setting. Since May of 2006, I have owned Pacific Coast Pilates in the Pacific Palisades, teaching private and semi-private lessons to clients of all ages. While my degree at the University of Southern California is in Political Science, I always have had a passion for the Pilates Method since my years in dance and gymnastics. This topic presented some difficulties with the subjects of the essays, yet I found myself searching deeper into this form of art and science. Subsequently, I broadened my knowledge of the importance of this exercise and rehabilitative regimen on critical issues in American Society.

Still, my essays posted on my blog have their faults. As mentioned before, it was challenging to address the prompts in an academic way, unlike other fields--like Political Science--are able to do. Had I chosen to use my major as the subject for my blog, I believe I would have had less difficulty with choosing a website to critique and with a person to nominate for an honorary degree. Nevertheless, I am proud of my work, and I feel fortunate that I was able to learn how to use Blogger in this class. Rather than simply writing an essay as I do for every other class, I learned how to make connections with other people in my profession and use the Internet to my benefit. I look forward to maintaining my blog and sharing it with my clients!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rael Isacowitz: The Teacher of Teachers

The University of Southern California prides itself on the integration of "liberal and professional learning"and its commitment to excellence in "teaching knowledge and skills to [its] students." Through teaching, research, artistic creation, professional practice, and selected forms of public service, the university accomplishes it role as a premier educational institution. Alumni, trustees, volunteers, and friends of USC are essential to the Trojan Family tradition, and their camaraderie and willingness to help one another are evident among each member of the family. Every Spring graduation, USC awards an honorary degree to distinguished individuals displaying excellence in one or more of four highly regarded areas. James Freedman, president emeritus of the University of Iowa and Dartmouth College notes in Liberal Education and the Public Interest, "a university makes an explicit statement to its students and the world about the qualities of character and attainment it admires most" when awarding an honorary degree (117). Through its Role and Mission statement, it is clear that USC admires the arts and professional practice--two areas in which Rael Isacowitz excels. While he has not contributed to the university through gifts nor is he an alumnus, Isacowitz, founder and owner of Body Arts and Science International, has distinguished himself through achievements in his Pilates profession and in the business arena throughout the world. For this reason, I have chosen to nominate Isacowitz for an honorary degree in fine arts at the University of Southern California.

The university's purposes for awarding an honorary degree include: honoring individuals who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary achievements in scholarship, the professions, or other creative activities, but who may not be widely known by the general public; honoring alumni and other individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the welfare and development of USC or the communities of which it is a part; recognizing exceptional acts of philanthropy to the University and/or on the national or world scene; elevating the university in the eyes of the world by honoring individuals who are widely known and highly regarded for achievements in their respective fields of endeavor. As previously stated, Isacowitz's accomplishments may not be widely known by the general public, but within his respective profession, he has established a world-renowned reputation and name for himself.

USC's Honorary Degrees Committee invites students to nominate distinguished individuals to be considered for the university's highest honor, and they "welcome nominations of persons with distinguished accomplishments outside of conventional academic fields." In the surrounding neighborhoods and throughout the world, "USC provides public leadership and public service in such diverse fields as health care, economic development, social welfare, scientific research, public policy, and the arts." Pilates is clearly outside of the conventional academic fields in which USC awards honorary degrees. Still, Pilates is a form of art in its graceful movements and a form of science in its ability to rehabilitate the body. Isacowitz has mastered both the art and science of Pilates, while developing a Pilates empire across the globe. With his international acclaim and involvement, Isacowitz has served as a leader in his field while helping his clients and students achieve their goals.

Chapman University's Mike Martin provides an instrument by which to measure the attainments of an honorary degree nominee in his book Meaningful Work: Rethinking Professional Ethics. Martin believes professional achievement falls into three categories (21): craft, such as expertise, technical skill, theoretical understanding, and creativity; compensation, such as money, power, authority, and recognition; and morals, such as integrity, honesty, justice, benevolence, loyalty, gratitude, and conscientiousness. In other words, Martin's professional categories reveal the definition of a profession: "advanced expertise, social recognition, and service to clients and community" (22). Isacowitz is widely known as a teacher of teachers. With more than twenty-five years of teaching experience, he is recognized as an expert in the Pilates method. Incorporating yoga, dance, athletics, and academic knowledge, Isacowitz developed the Body Arts and Science International approach. The BASI certification is recognized today as a contemporary, cutting edge approach to the works of the founding father Joseph Pilates, and represents the amalgamation of the pure form of Pilates and current scientific knowledge. This therapeutic exercise modality has caught the attention of physicians and physical therapists, which now integrate Pilates into their practices.

Martin further claims, "Delivery of services involves relationships of trust, trustworthiness, confidentiality, and caring about clients, employers, colleagues, and the wider public. As a result, professions have inherent moral significance, in two ways: professions provide opportunities to make ongoing contributions to the well being of others, and they play special responsibilities on professionals as outlined in codes of ethics (23). On Center Conditioning, one of the Pilates studios established by Isacowitz, is "home to an exclusive, internationally acclaimed instructor-training and certification program that attracts students from all over the world." In a letter to visitors at the On Center Conditioning website, Isacowitz states, "I have had the pleasure of witnessing and being part of people's journey towards well being, and have seen the most profound changes before my eyes." His care for each client as an individual, and his interest in their personal goals, contributes to the value and moral qualities of his profession.

Isacowitz is a teacher of the highest caliber. His rich experience in all facets of human movement are incorporated into his practice and teaching. Isacowitz's work in Pilates has spanned five continents and has touched hundreds of students around the world. "In addition to earning money to pursue interests outside work," Martin argues, "we seek activities and relationships at the workplace that are inherently meaningful in terms of our fundamental values" (11). Martin provides an explanation in his discussion of "meaningful work, moral psychology, character and the virtues, self-fulfillment and self-betrayal, and the interplay of private and professional life" (vii). He argues that most people need more from professions than simply money and fame. "Usually, though not always, work is inherently meaningful only when something more than money is gained" (21). Isacowitz gains more than money and fame through sharing his love and knowledge of the work of Joseph H. Pilates. At the BASI host studio, On Center Conditioning, he is able to bring the depth of his experience and his passion to life. Isacowitz notes in A Pilates-based Workout Can Change Your Life, "We are very proud of our center. It is the culmination of over twenty years" work; and for me, a dream come true. I am genuinely committed to helping our clients achieve their individual health and fitness goals, and we tailor programs specifically to meet these goals." Isacowitz continues to practice Pilates at every level, and to integrate the work into his life, which he is able to share with all.

Freedman argues an honorary degree is above all intended to "celebrate distinguished and sublime achievement" (132). In addition to serving as a committee chairperson for the Pilates Method Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to unity, professionalism, and to advocating educational standards for Pilates, Isacowitz has published several articles, has been featured in numerous publications dedicated to health and fitness, and recently released a book called Pilates. Isacowitz also works extensively on five continents in the fields of dance and Pilates and receives international recognition from the medical, dance, and athletic communities, as well as from his peers and colleagues. Furthermore, he was a featured speaker and demostrator at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science in Tel Aviv, Israel and at the University of California, Irvine. Isacowitz received his teaching credentials in 1978 and a Bachelor of Education degree in Israel at the prestigious Wingate Institute of Physical Education, where he was later invited to join the teaching faculty and lectured for three years. In 1986, he completed his Master of Arts degree in Dance at the University of Surrey, England. The beginnings of the BASI organization were in Australia in 1989, being one of the first curriculum-based Pilates teacher-training programs in the world. In 1991, Isacowitz established On Center Conditioning in Costa Mesa, California, which has always served as the "standard for excellence" in the Pilates industry since its inception. He has also lectured and taught in universities, colleges, clinics, and studios in Australia, England, Israel, South Africa, and throughout the United States. For his notable achievements throughout the world, Isacowitz exemplifies an individual deserving of an honorary degree of the arts at USC.

According to the Role and Mission of USC, the university is "pluralistic, welcoming outstanding men and women of every race, creed, and background." Moreover, the Honorary Degree Committee is "particularly interested in candidates from diverse backgrounds." Isacowitz was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1955 and was raised in the country until moving to in Israel for college. His time in South Africa allowed him to begin his profession and grow the BASI company throughout the world. Living and attending school in Israel provided another path in which to expand a Pilates empire, furthering a dream of establishing world-wide recognition. Not only did Isacowitz develop a successful business in his country of birth and schooling, but also he immigrated to the United States and established himself as a "master" and a "teacher of teachers" in the Pilates method. Isacowitz's dparticularringing, which is of particluar interest at USC, should provide further evidence for the awarding of an honorary degree.

Some may ask what this profession--Pilates--would mean to the students at USC, and possibly why the institution should award Isacowitz with an honorary degree. "There are of course risks to colleges in granting honorary degrees," argues Freedman. "Perhaps the greatest risk is that the recipient will turn out, in retrospect, to have been ill-chosen" (130). Risks, while at times dangerous, often can result in something very successful and worth the taken chances. It is important to illustrate to students, especially graduates, the wide range of possibilities in the professional world. Isacowitz began as a teacher and has developed the dream of establishing an internationally praised program for Pilates and rehabilitation. In a commencement speech to the graduating class of 2007, Isacowitz would most likely express life's journey of pursuing passion-driven service. He would offer that success comes from finding a vocation that resonates within one's self--one in which an individual can become an expert and share generously with others throughout the world. While his initial accomplishments may not be commonly recognized by the public, and particularly by the students, Isacowitz's achievements are nonetheless admirable and worthy of an honorary degree at USC.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Weightwatchers.com: Exploring the Web's Importance in the Obesity Battle

Issues concerning body image pervade modern culture, and the discussion of the problems caused by an unrealistic desire to attain an ideal physique is quite common. Perceptions of body weight differ between men and women. Females of normal weight are more likely to view themselves as too fat, while men of normal weight consider themselves too skinny. Societal influences such as the media, music videos, the fashion industry, magazines, and television shape people’s perceptions of their body size, providing thinner-than-average role models for women. Overweight females feel pressured to lose weight in order to look more like the women they see in the magazines and movies. However, the heavier a woman becomes, the more embarrassed she may be to exercise at gyms and go to group nutritional counseling. With the widespread availability and convenience of the Internet boom, females have access to information in the privacy and comfort of their homes, giving them the chance to succeed in weight loss programs, such as Weight Watchers, within their own time schedule.

The Internet is a leading media choice for the female population. In fact, Pew Internet Research shows that 71% of women use the Internet on a regular basis. To help them balance all facets of their work, family, and social lives, women rely on the Internet and its efficiency to manage everything with ease. Women, especially mothers, have too many responsibilities to take care of in a limited amount of time. With so many worries, they are left with very little time for themselves--leaving them without the ability to maintain their weight or join a weight loss program. As with Weight Watchers, members are encouraged to go to meetings and nutritional counseling for support during the program. With a myriad of life stressors, it is almost impossible to attend any of the meetings suggested by the weight loss program. Weight Watchers provides a way for women to stay connected, remain motivated, and seek the help they need to succeed in the Weight Watchers--or any--weight management plan. For these reasons, the website for Weight Watchers was recognized as an "Outstanding Website" by the Web Marketing Association's WebAward based on a number of criteria. Despite the fact that the site meets most of these criteria with great aplomb with regards to its goal within the field of health care, the Weight Watchers website does have a noticeable limitation.

Although Weight Watcher received recognition from WebAward, the in-depth explanations of the judging process are not extensive. Thus, Webby Awards--an honor given to outstanding websites in their respective fields--is used to unpack the Weight Watchers. Webby Awards offers a set of criteria based on six categories: content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and overall experience. Argues Webby Awards, sites with good structure and navigation are "consistent, intuitive, and transparent" and allow one to "form a mental model of the information provided, where to find things, and what to expect after clicking an item." The main menu consistently lies at the top of each web page with the same ordering and positioning. When one clicks on one of the seven menu tabs, sub-menus drop down below the main heading. For example, after clicking “Success Stories,” four different sub-menus appear as can be seen in the image below. Additionally, “a consistent approach to layout and navigation allows readers to adapt quickly to your design," states Web Style Guide, "and to confidently predict the location of information and navigation controls across the pages of your site." Weight Watchers' website absolutely satisfies this recommendation. Website users can always click on any of the other menu options or the homepage at any time during their experience at the Weight Watchers website. Additionally, one can navigate through the site to search for information, learn new exercise tips, read success stories, and find healthy recipes without becoming a member of Weight Watchers beforehand. Only when a visitor wants personal feedback or individual tools for their own weight management is the website restricted to members-only. This is significant because the site provides material for people who may not be able to afford the cost of Weight Watchers each month. Moreover, it assists in the battle against obesity without charging people for learning the essential tools for a healthy lifestyle. Because navigating through the website is quick, easy, and accessible, people are very likely to visit Weight Watchers frequently and possibly become a member.

The Weight Watchers website aims to inform the visitors about the weight loss program, fitness options, recipe ideas, and various health topics. Weight Watchers calls their weight loss program “TurnAround," consisting of the “Flex Plan”—choose any food but control the amount with points, and the “Core Plan”—eat wholesome foods from all the food groups without counting. Giving the members diet options makes the program and the site more appealing to people interested in losing weight. Some do not want to give up their favorite foods, but do not know how to limit the amount they eat--the Points plan would work well for them. Others like to eat more amounts of food, but need direction on which foods to eat and how to cook them--the Core Plan would fit them perfectly. Most importantly, the website provides extensive amounts of information on both plans so the visitor knows as much as possible about the programs before becoming a member. For example, after clicking on "Take the Tour" then "How TurnAround Works," visitors will find more information regarding the Flex Plan and the Core Plan. The Flex Plan explains to readers that they can eat all the food they love while still staying in control with a point formula tested by nutritionists and physicians. With the detailed information given, coupled with the illustrations of a positive outcome, visitors are well informed before choosing to join the program.

Not only does the website explain the two weight management programs Weight Watchers presents, but they also offer information on ways to stay active under the “Healthy and Fit” tab in the menu bar. The site displays workouts just for women and some just for men to target tough areas for each gender. Additionally, they have a six-page archive of Fitness Ideas to control weight and improve health. In fact, they chose Pilates as an "exercise that empowers." Webby Award's judging criteria suggests, "Good content should be engaging, relevant, and appropriate for the audience." By offering visitors information beyond the range of the company's general material, Weight Watchers addresses the issues and concerns of their website users and program members. Those attempting to lose weight not only care about their diet and food intake. They must be informed about different exercise regimens and their impact on weight loss. If people do not add exercise into a weight loss plan, they will be more likely to plateau during weight loss, and eventually lose the motivation to reach their goals. Because the content of the site is informative, useful, and communicates a wealth of knowledge to the public, Weight Watchers displays award-winning characteristics.

The “Community” navigation tool, and its "Message Boards" are an essential part of this website. It consists of forty different sections, including the "Community Recipe Swap," and it gives people the ability to share failures and successes, make new friends, be a friend, and become inspired. Webby Award argues, "Interactive elements are what separate the Web from other media. It allows a user to give and receive. It insists that you participate, not spectate." The open forum is a way for Weight Watchers participants to express problems, fears, and frustrations during their weight loss plan. If they cannot attend the meetings, they have the option of an online discussion conducted in the comfort of home at their own convenience. One particularly moving example of people encouraging one another is a posting titled "HELP!!! I need to get back on track!!!" One woman posts, "This has been the worst week ever! Food has become my friend again... and I don't want that! PLEASE help me get back on track..." Another member responds to the post within fifty minutes and says, "You have already taken the first step by asking for help." She then offers the woman the name of the group that helped her to get through a tough time. She ends the post, "Just don't give up!" Including this aspect of the website ensures visitor and participant feedback for the company and women-to-women support for the program. Furthermore, it is important to allow this interactivity for insecure and shy people in need of having questions answered. Because they do not have to reveal their identities, members do not have to feel embarrassed asking questions; they simply get the help and advice they need. When people can communicate with each other, they feel a sense of camaraderie, friendship, and support.

Websites need authority to be trusted and resp
ected, and accordingly, it is important to display the authorship and their respective credentials. Weight Watchers includes a “Science Center” in the “Healthy and Fit” section of the site to explain the science behind their weight loss plan and the people involved in determining the facts. As stated by Weight Watchers, the Scientific Council is “a group of credentialed scientists with proficiency in weight management. In addition, Weight Watchers consults regularly with renowned experts to make certain that its weight-loss plan reflects the latest scientific thinking.” Due to the extensive list of physicians and scientists, the website's visitors and members are ensured that they are following an effective program--what rhetoricians call an appeal to ethos, or appeal to the credibility of the organization. To further answer any questions a person may have, the site offers a Science Library--a six-part resource center addressing health and fitness. Because the Science Center offers information supporting the weight loss program, it has an appeal to logos--logical reasoning for following Weight Watchers. Rather than having to research on another website, they have the information within a click away from the previous page; convenience is what every person with many responsibilities needs, and this site offers just that.

While this website
is a celebrated and an award-winning web page, and deservedly so, the site does have its drawbacks. For example, it preferentially focuses on the female population. Every picture on the homepage, and nearly every page throughout the website, consists of women smiling and looking happy. As a result of the looks of happiness and joy on the women's faces in the pictures, a visitor may think they can be just as content if they join Weight Watchers, which furthers the appeal to the users' pathos or emotions. While the pictures change each time one returns to the page, it switches to a new picture of females. Only two pictures of men are shown on the website: one of a man canoeing with a woman, and another that depicts an exercise for the men. Although obesity is prevalent in both males and females, the website openly appeals to the latter.

Societal bias may be a reason for this phenomenon. Dr. Donald R. McCreary, a research scientist at the Defense and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine in Toronto, explains, “When we take a look at the way we view our bodies and the impact on our happiness, our self-concept, it’s different for men and women because society puts pressure on women to
be thin.” If this is the case, then it would explain why women are the focal point of the website. Web Style Guide indicates that one must "identify the potential readers of [the] Website so that [one] can structure the site design to meet their needs and expectations." Women need assistance with choosing healthy foods and limiting the amount they eat not just for them, but for the entire family. The creator of the site obviously understood the user population--women--and centered the information and pictures on them. Even if females are the focus, the site should have some appeal to males. Perhaps they could have included several pictures of men with women on the home page or provided a separate section just for men.

Even though the site has its shortcomings, it does not take away from the fact t
hat Weight Watchers is a rich resource for information on weight loss, fitness, and health. More than merely addressing the obesity issue in the United States, Weight Watchers makes its website available for people looking to lose weight in thirty countries. This international contact illustrates the respectability that Weight Watchers has, as well as its applicability to a wide variety of cultural groups. With its ease of navigation, wide range of information, open interactivity, and options for food and fitness health, Weight Watchers is undeniably deserving of a WebAward and the high regard of Internet users alike.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Solving the Obesity Battle: Subsidized Health Club Memberships and Nutritional Counseling

Billions of dollars are spent each year on obesity-related illnesses, but the situation continues to worsen. Ideas circulate the nation attempting to solve this crisis; trendy diets and fitness machines claim to give people the body they always wanted. With so many options, one would think every American would be in great physical shape--or at least weigh the recommended weight for their height. This, unfortunately, is not the case.

The only way to beat the obesity battle is to provide better information and access to Americans. While some people, along with Jimmy Moore of blog Livin La Vida Low Carb, argue the epidemic is not a product of affluence or poverty, there is evidence that the less fortunate do not have the same options as those of financial stability. Says Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, "If we're urging people to walk more, and their streets are not safe, that's an unrealistic expectation." Americans living in upper-middle class neighborhoods feel safe taking walks, unlike those living in urban areas with high crime rates.

If employers and health insurance companies included nutritional counseling and health club memberships in their policies as Kevin Freking suggests in his posting The Real Skinny: We're Getting Fatter Everywhere, people would be better informed about what they put in their bodies, and they would have the opportunity to exercise safely on a daily basis. Additionally, if the companies provided incentives for employees and carriers participating in fitness and nutrition routines, Americans would be much more successful at losing weight.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Exercise For Moms-to-Be: Gentle Ways to Stay Fit

For many women, exercise regimens are an integral part of their daily activities. However, concerns arise among the medical community regarding the effects of exercise on pregnant women. While it is important for women to refrain from vigorous exercise and contact sports during their pregnancies, some studies show a greater sense of wellbeing in well-conditioned women as compared with other pregnant women.

Maintaining an exercise routine can be extremely difficult when a woman is pregnant, and she may find herself avoiding it altogether in fear it may harm the baby. Pilates is a wonderful mind-body exercise for moms-to-be, especially because it can improve the way a woman feels throughout the pregnancy. It strengthens the most important muscles used during pregnancy and labor, and the dynamic moves and coordinated breathing help build muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance--something that is very important as pregnancy progresses. "During pregnancy, the body's hormones change, causing ligaments and tissue to loosen. If you strengthen the pelvic floor, the [woman] can go back naturally to a pre-pregnant or correct alignment," states Julian Littleford of J L Body Conditioning in Del Mar, California. "[Because] the system strengthens and lengthens the intrinsic muscles that hold the body in correct alignment," adds Littleford, the program helps ease the strain and tensions involved with a changing body.

As previously mentioned, Pilates focuses on core strength, targeting the abdominals, pelvic floor muscles, and lower back extensors. This often helps relieve much of the stress on the lower back and pelvis, where many women complain of pain throughout pregnancy. Although the strength of the core muscles can offer great benefits, it is possible for the mother to overstress these muscles. She must pay attention to her body; if she feels any discomfort, she should discontinue the exercise. As with any fitness regimen, it is crucial that the mother discuss her plan with the physician supervising the pregnancy. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology thoroughly outlines the conditions indicating a woman should not participate in exercise during pregnancy. The mother must contact the healthcare provider immediately of she experiences any of the following during or after exercise: bleeding, labored respiration, dizziness, severe abdominal pain, exhaustion, chest pain, decreased fetal movement, and/or amniotic fluid leakage.

Not much can be done to alter the inevitable physiological and hormonal changes of pregnancy. However, by strengthening the core stabilizing muscles around the pelvis and spine--and improving the breathing pattern--it is hoped that one can optimize the body for the challenges it may face. Many women say Pilates alleviated back pain during pregnancy, prepared them for delivery, and simply helped them feel better about their changing bodies. Women who choose Pilates for exercise during pregnancy will learn to improve awareness of their bodies, performing careful movements that will extend beyond the walls of the studio or fitness center. While there are many options available to stay fit throughout the nine months, healthcare professionals and women alike agree Pilates tops the list for great prenatal fitness workouts.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pilates and the Obesity Pandemic: The Benefits of an Active Lifestyle

Obesity Trends in the United States
During the past twenty years, the rate of obesity among adults in the United States has significantly risen. The most recent data from the
National Center for Health Statistics show thirty percent of Americans ages twenty and older are obese--sixty million people. Additionally, the percentage in young adults and children has more than tripled since 1980. People who are overweight have increased risk of many diseases and heart conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and respiratory problems. While the national health objective is to reduce the prevalence of obesity among adults to below fifteen percent by 2010, current data indicate a worsening situation. In fact, approximately 300,000 deaths each year in the U.S. may be attributed to obesity--staggering evidence that we must do something immediately!

Where Does Pilates Fit In Regard to Obesity?
Many people lead inactive lives; less than thirty percent of adults engage in the recommended thirty minutes of physical activity a day. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, physical activity is extremely helpful for the prevention of obesity and contributes to weight loss when combined with reduced caloric intake.

The quest for a long and healthy life, and the absolute necessity of such for those who are obese, is driving people to seek long-term health and lifestyle solutions. For this reason, millions of people are rejecting fad diets and exercise routines in favor of
preventative mind and body conditioning programs like Pilates. Pilates is one of the safest forms of exercise--highly adaptable to the special needs of the individual--making it suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Moreover, doctors, physical therapists, and athletes embrace Pilates for its comprehensive approach to health and fitness.

How Can Pilates Affect Change on the Obesity Trend?
Many Americans--specifically the overweight and obese--begin exercise regimens to improve their current weight and health. Unfortunately, they begin high impact
routines that are too intense, leaving them frustrated, unmotivated, and still overweight.

Pilates consists of a series of exercises, including concentrated attention on keeping
the body aligned, movements coordinated, and mind focused. Pilates offers many benefits, including a long, lean physique. The resistance work helps increase bone density and joint health, while the coordinated breathing opens up the lungs and diaphragm--in turn, decreasing the frequency of asthma attacks.

Pilates allows one to relax the mind and body while leaning and shaping the body as a whole. After just one session, many people notice mental-health changes as well. "Pilates makes you feel better about yourself
," Mari Winsor of Winsor Pilates states, "and more able to cope with stress and the rigors of life." With these benefits, Americans and others worldwide will be more inspired to maintain a workout routine, lose the weight, and keep it off!