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Pilates Exercise Equipment for Fun and Fitness

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/25/2007 | Fitness

Step inside any health and fitness club and you will quickly notice that Pilates classes are always filled to capacity. Pilates is a favorite fitness program for strengthening and developing balance within the mid-section of the body, otherwise known as the "core".

Pilates can be performed without the need for complicated pieces of equipment. However, there are certain items that can make the exercises more comfortable and can help your body get more out of the exercises.

Pilates Mat

The Pilates mat really only helps with one thing; a hard exercise floor. Most of the Pilates exercises involve the participant stretching and performing strength exercises while laying down, kneeling or sitting. Having a non-slip Pilates mat will increase comfort and allow the time to be spent concentrating on the exercise rather than the pain that is shooting into your back as a result of the cold, hard floor. A quality Pilates mat will be durable, can be rolled for travel and storage and can be washed when needed.

Pilates Ball

A Pilates ball can also be used for comfort when performing the exercises. Certainly many of the movements can be done while sitting on the ball which seems to be much better than simply sitting on the hard gym floor. However, it should not be presumed that this will be easy as a separate benefit of the ball is it forces the participant to control their balance as they are performing the exercises. This allows your body, and particularly your core, to gain the maximum benefit from the exercise.

Pilates Machine

The reformer is a Pilates machine that, while looking extremely complicated, is actually a very elegant machine that allows the participant to work the core with basic yet precise movements. The reformer consists of a sliding platform with springs connected to a spring bar that allows the participant to vary the resistance. The sliding platform or carriage is where the participant will sit, kneel, lay or stand as they perform the exercises. The carriage moves up and back as they push on the footbar. There is a headrest and shoulder block that is used to keep the participant steady within the machine.

Pilates is an exercise program that focuses on strengthening the core muscles group. Pilates exercise equipment enhances the exercises and makes the routine more comfortable. This allows the participant to get the most out of the program and enjoy better health.