Callanetics is the creation of a former ballerina, Callan Pinckney, who danced around the world for years before returning to America in a wheelchair with back and knee problems. She experimented with various forms of exercise to heal herself before turning to her previous ballet experience. She developed the technique of using small and precise movements, which cured her physical problems. She started teaching the method to others and wrote a book, "Ten Years Younger in Ten Hours," which became hugely popular after its release in 1986. One of her disciples is Madonna, who incorporates Callanetics into her rigorous exercise routine.
Callanetics is a low impact exercise program that teaches you to move precisely and slowly in order to use each group of muscles. The movements are simple, but they are said to be effective in toning and strengthening your muscles. Callanetics is appealing in a number of respects. People of any age can do the exercises, you don't need any equipment, and the exercises are said to increase strength, flexibility, balance and body alignment without being too strenuous.
There are nine different Callanetics DVDs that can be ordered from the company. The original video, "Callanetics: 10 Years Younger in 10 Hours," teaches the exercises that Callan developed for herself and then her students. There are also three DVDs that focus on specific body parts -- legs, stomach, hips and behind -- during 20-minute workouts. The most recent Callanetics DVDs,are "The Callanetics Evolution" and "Cardio Callanetics." The former features "three different types of muscle pulsing and unique body alignment principles." The latter is a more energizing workout mixing ballet and yoga. It is said to be a non-traditional approach to aerobics. Although Callanetics was initially not intended to be for dieting, it now focuses on weight loss as well as shaping your body.
Callanetics has many fervent fans in addition to Madonna. The story of its invention by Callan Pinckney seems to ring true for many, and a low impact exercise plan that can be done anywhere by anyone without any equipment makes it easy to implement. It incorporates a meditative element into the exercises as well, which appeals to those seeking to calm the mind as well as the body. In addition to its DVDs, Callanetics now franchises exercise facilities staffed with teachers trained in the Callanetics method.
Unlike most exercise and weight loss programs, Callanetics doesn't focus on diet and there are no supplements to take. The exercises are relatively simply and generally safe to try. There are no clinical studies, however, to indicate that Callanetics is truly effective for either reshaping your body or for weight loss. Consult a physician before embarking on any exercise program.
Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.