While women have dominated Pilates classes in the past, there is a growing swell of men taking part. Whether you’re a runner, golfer or cyclist, Pilates certainly has a place within any training regime.
Pilates is all about subtlety, not speed or force. Don’t be fooled though, it’s not easy. Taking the momentum out of exercise means you work harder, tuning in to the movement and how that feels within your body.
So what exactly are the benefits:
1. Development of smaller, often neglected, muscles
In most exercise, the larger, stronger muscles will dominate, taking the load and providing the power. Through concentrated movements, Pilates isolates and strengthens the smaller muscles so the muscle groups work together, as they were designed to do. This prevents overuse of the larger muscles and avoids potential injuries.
2. Improved flexibility
We all know that greater flexibility can reduce injury by increasing range of motion, however, the more muscle mass you have the less flexible you’ll be. Pilates focuses on lengthening and stretching while still strengthening muscles, so increasing flexibility and reducing strains.
3. Building core strength
Through regular Pilates you’ll strengthen your core muscles to power movement in your limbs. A stronger core will help to stabilize the pelvis, reducing lower back, hip and knee pain. Pilates will also focus on your transverse abdominals, the often hard to isolate, base abdominal muscle underneath your six-pack.
4. Live and breathe consciously
Pilates forces you to focus on your breathing while performing the exercises, taking your mind away from the worries and concerns of the day. Try taking this mindful approach and carry it through for the rest of the day. You’ll feel more refreshed and enjoy lower stress levels.
5. Improve mental mobility
Learn something new. Stimulate the mind as you work the body and release those happy hormones!
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