Pilates (English pronunciation: /pɨˈlɑːtiːz/, German: [piˈlaːtəs]) is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates in Germany, the UK and the USA. As of 2005, there were 11 million people practising the discipline regularly and 14,000 instructors in the United States.

Pilates called his method Contrology (from control and Greek -λογία, -logia), because he believed that his method uses the mind to control the muscles.

Pilates is a body conditioning routine that helps build flexibility and long, lean muscles, strength and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips, and back. It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing to relieve stress and allow adequate oxygen flow to muscles, developing a strong core or center (tones abdominals while strengthening the back), and improving coordination and balance. Pilates' flexible system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises. No muscle group is under or over trained.[3] It enhances core strength and brings increased reach, flexibility, sure-footedness and agility.

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