The aim is to re-train the body out of old postural muscle holding habits, which create tension, poor posture and restrict efficient movement. Pilates leaves no muscle overworked, underworked or misused. This allows "perfect symmetry", or more balanced and efficient postural movement patterning.
Training the deep stabilising muscles first, the transversus abdominus, multifidus and pelvic floor muscles, gives a strong centre or "core" from which to move. Pilates continually lengthens the spine, and encourages space within the joints of the body. This works to counteract compression and wear and tear on the joints, caused over time by gravity, postural habits, muscle imbalance or injury. Also encouraging articulation of the spine, or even segmental control along the vertebrae, pilates helps prevent excessive stiffness or flexibility in any one area. While also looking at individual neck, head, shoulder, arm and leg alignment, pilates encourages movement integration of the body as a whole, aided by correct breathing patterns. It targets muscles and areas that may have never been exercised before!
Pilates has been dubbed "The thinking person's exercise!"