Is Pilates a Fad?
This is a question I was asked recently by a friend who does not practice Pilates. We were discussing my studio and my thoughts on the future. I’m a planner and I am always thinking ahead. Her question came from a place of caring and concern. She was not criticizing Pilates or attempting to lobby for another practice or exercise.
I did not have to hesitate and think about her question. I knew the answer. NO! I don’t just say that because I teach Pilates and love it. I believe that and I will tell you why. When I discovered Pilates about 8 years ago, it was popular in big cities like New York, Chicago and California primarily. Pilates began on the East coasts, and was later introduced to the West coast by Ron Fletcher. Sure, other cities had Pilates but I would venture to say the majority of fitness enthusiast where unfamiliar with Pilates. I had been in the fitness world for 10 years before I knew what Pilates was. Every gym did not offer mat Pilates classes and reformer classes were pretty unheard of outside of studios.
By 2010, Reformers were showing up in the gyms in other cities. Pilates mat classes were becoming more of a staple in gyms as well. More studios were appearing in the midwest and south. Pilates was working it way into the middle of the country!
I have noticed in the 7 years I have lived in Nashville and taught Pilates a shift in knowledge and perception of Pilates. In the beginning, most I spoke to believed it was a fancy version of yoga or had no idea at all. Now, most I speak with have some idea about Pilates and may even be able to tell you where a studio is! To me that is growth and progress!
BUT – the biggest reason I believe Pilates is not a fad is because the medical community is starting to embrace Pilates as a form of rehab or injury prevention. This is huge in my opinion. We Pilates instructors have known for some time that Pilates can help with back pain or IT band issues or hip replacement rehab and so much more. It has taken the medical community a little longer to see the benefits and start guiding their patients to do Pilates. I am always so pleased to hear from a new student that their Doctor told them they need to do Pilates.
Pilates Instructors have been singing the benefits of Pilates for prenatal and postpartum moms. Not too many years ago doctors often discouraged women from trying Pilates during pregnancy. It was something ‘new’ and they weren’t sure. Now, I am seeing more and more pregnant women and women with issues post pregnancy being guided to try Pilates by their OB/GYN. This makes me happy to see this community also embrace the benefits and healing attributes of Pilates.
If Pilates were simply another exercise to make you look good in your skinny jeans, it may be considered a fad. Some new-fangled workout could come along and takes it place in popularity. BUT what other ‘exercise’ can help heal your body, is safe for all ages and fitness levels and has been shown to improve mood as well and is endorsed by your Doctor? For these reasons, I feel confident in saying to my friend and anyone else who may ask – Pilates is not a fad!