Pilates is one of the greatest legacies!
Most of us know that Pilates is one of the most popular fitness methods with worldwide popularity. But few of us know that it’s was created nearly 100 years ago! This week the Wall Street Journal selected Pilates as one of the 100 most important legacies from the World War I era.
Turns out that World War I had a profound impact on Pilates – in fact, had it not been for this terrible war Pilates may never have been created! Read all about it in this fine short post.
Here it is!
World War I Centenary: Pilates
Pilates a legacy of World War I? That’s a bit of a stretch, surely.
Well no. Turns out this form of fitness beloved by celebrities and mainstream gym-goers alike was conceived by a German boxer and bodybuilder while he was interned in Britain as an enemy alien during the war.
Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born near Düsseldorf in 1883, and grew up at a time when interest in classical notions of physical health and beauty blossomed. This was the era in which the Olympic Games were revived and the physical culture movement flowered.
Joseph, however, was a frail child, afflicted by asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever, and bullied by his peers. But he was also stubborn, taking up bodybuilding, wrestling, martial arts and yoga. By the time he reached his teens, he was fit enough to find work as a model for anatomical drawings.
In 1912, Pilates left Germany for Britain, where he worked as a circus performer and boxer. At the outbreak of World War I he was picked up by the British authorities and interned at a camp at Knockaloe Moar on the Isle of Man. It was while he was locked up that he developed his system of mind and body strengthening through physical exercise–and “Contrology,” as Pilates termed his method, was born.
Conditions in the camps were poor, and he encouraged his fellow inmates to exercise as a means of staying healthy. Some of the internees were bed-bound, so Pilates took springs and straps from the beds and attached them to the head and footboards, creating an early type of resistance-training machine. These were forerunners of the spring-based equipment for which the Pilates method is known today.
For the complete article go to http://online.wsj.com/ww1/