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History of Pilates

Pilates is a method of exercise that encompasses the body, mind and spirit. It was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early part of the 1900’s. Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. It is reported that he was sickly as a child and turned to athletics and the study of exercise to improve his condition as he grew into adulthood. Joe was in England at the start of WWI working a self-defense instructor for Scotland Yard. Because he was German, he was detained in an internment camp until the end of the war. It was here that he evolved his exercise methods and the beginnings of his equipment designs developed as he trained other internees in an effort to maintain health and strength. Following the war, he immigrated to the United States in 1926, met his future wife on the voyage and they opened a fitness studio together in New York, known as the Pilates Studio. Many of their first clients were New York City Ballet dancers. The Pilates method continued to gain popularity among the dance community, eventually reaching Hollywood celebrities in the 1970’s and then began catching on in the mainstream fitness world by the end of the 1980’s.


“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness,”
-Joseph Pilates, 1945.


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