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Pilates – Perfect for Posture, Increasing Flexibility and Strengthening Your Back
By Lauren Bannister, Reps Level 3 Pilates Instructor - Stratford Pilates Centre, UK

Pilates is the buzzword in fitness today.  Yet, it’s not new - it has been delivering results for well over 80 years.  


During that time, its devotees have included leading celebrities from the worlds of film, dance and professional sport.  Madonna, Jodie Foster, Courtney Cox, Terence Stamp and Christian Slater are just some of today’s personalities who are Pilates fans; whilst in sport, it’s practiced by the New Zealand All Blacks, Pat Cash, members of the England Rugby and Cricket squads and many more of our top sporting heroes.


Pilates is a very safe, effective form of exercise which strengthens the core postural muscles of the body, working from the inside-out to rebalance the body and bring it back into correct alignment.  So, what are the key benefits of Pilates?  


Through regular Pilates, you’ll achieve a much longer, leaner body.  Because all the exercises are undertaken in a slow and controlled manner, it'll help you to achieve longer-term results.  Pilates will also improve your posture, and you’ll attain the perfect balance between strength and flexibility.  It’s also a great way of relieving unwanted stress and tension.


Perfect for athletes looking to enhance their performance and avoid the risk of injury, Pilates is also ideal for first-time exercisers. Pilates strengthens the deep stabilising muscles of the torso, making it ideal for the treatment and prevention of back problems.  This is one of the reasons why Pilates enjoys unique support from across the medical profession and is at the forefront of sports therapy today.


The results that you can obtain through Pilates include:


·         A stronger, healthier back and lengthened spine.

·         Better body alignment and posture.

·         Greater mobility, stability and flexibility.

·         A better balance between strength and suppleness.

·         Increased level of fitness, strength and lung capacity.

·         Guards against injury and aids rehabilitation.

·         Increased bone density and joint health.

·         A leaner, longer, more toned look with improved body shape and flatter stomach.

·         Stress relief and an increased sense of well-being and more confidence.

·         Better co-ordination and greater body awareness.


Pilates is great for both your physical and mental health, but it is also exceptionally effective for a number of specific conditions, such as:


·        Back pain, back-ache and other back problems including scoliosis/curvature of the spine.

·        Anyone wishing to improve fitness levels, posture and appearance.

·         Poor posture, rounded shoulders, neck and shoulder pains or problems.

·         Stiffness, joint pains and muscle pains.

·         Arthritis/ osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia or even ageing.

·         Injuries: sports injuries and others including RSI - Repetitive Strain Injury.

·        Pre and post-operation strengthening, and pre and post-natal exercises.

·         Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, whiplash.

·         Stress and even weight loss.


There is a massive demand for Pilates and hundreds of new Pilates Centres are opening up around the world every day.  When looking to join a Pilates class, especially if you suffer with joint or back problems, you should first check that your teacher is fully qualified at a UK Level 3 to teach Pilates.  If you live outside the UK and you wish to attend a Pilates class, you should find someone with an equivalent professional qualification in your country.


For more information on Pilates in the UK, please visit  To check out your UK instructor's qualifications, please go to


As a fully qualified Pilates Instructor with the Body Control Pilates Organisation, Lauren Bannister is Director of the Stratford Pilates Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK.  If you’d like to find out more about Lauren and her individual or group Pilates classes, please visit:


The above information should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.






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