Sunday, January 22, 2006

It slices, it dices, it's a floor wax,...

Much of the press I've seen around this story delights in pointing the finger: pilates ain't perfect.

The study concluded that the cardiovascular benefits of Pilates appear to be limited.

That's the part that gets the lede. However, they go on to say
"Pilates has a long list of benefits including improved body mechanics, balance, coordination, strength and flexibility," said Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for ACE. "While the ACE study shows that a Pilates session burns a relatively small amount of calories, it is still a valuable addition to any exercise routine offering the essential elements of building a strong core and increasing flexibility."

(A leftover from my days as a holier-than-thou editor: I hate confusion of "amount" and "number.")

This was part of the alleged controversy in the Wikipedia pilates brouhaha as well: some folks complaining that, yeah, it increases core connection and improves posture and all, but it's not, like, high-impact and stuff.

Most athletes of all kinds cross-train. The reason I got into pilates in the first place was as a supplement to dance; and some forms of dance, along with some martial arts, come as close to total body systems as any regimens I can think of. I don't claim that the work I do is all anyone needs to stay fit. In fact, with my dancers in particular, I've stated categorically that I am under no obligation whatsoever to provide a complete workout; my task is to focus in on those physical issues that require particular attention, and if that means devoting an entire session to the achilles tendon (or to letting a student catch up on sleep), so be it.

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