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pilates is a body conditioning routine that seeks to build flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination without adding muscle bulk. in addition, pilates increases circulation and helps to sculpt the body and strengthen the body's "core" or "powerhouse" (torso). people who do pilates regularly feel they have better posture, are less prone to injury, and experience better overall health. while using controlled movements in the form of mat exercises or equipment (called the reformer) you can tone and strengthen the body. for decades, it's been the exercise of choice for dancers and gymnasts (and now hollywood actors), but is a wonderful way to get into shape for anyone. it was originally created by joseph pilates and used to rehabilitate bedridden or immobile patients during world war I.