To understand the benefits of Pilates exercises you must understand a little of the history of the man himself. Joseph Pilates, born in 1880, was a sickly child suffering from, rickets, Asthma and Rheumatic fever, determined not to succumb to these illnesses, he embarked on a quest to change his body and health through exercise. He experimented with various exercise forms including Yoga, gymnastics, self defence, boxing, weight training and circus training. Mr Pilates developed exercises to improve balance, strength and flexibility, and in doing so, improved postural alignment. Pilates’ exercises were so effective that Joseph Pilates was considered suitable to pose for anatomy charts.
Clearly, the inspirational base of Mr Pilates method of exercise is not taken from sports or activities in which women participate exclusively. Men participate in many of these forms of exercise, and it is becoming increasingly recognised by today’s professional and amateur sportsmen, that Pilates exercises significantly improve sporting performance.
In recent years the exercises designed by Joseph Pilates have become increasingly popular, particularly with women and as such, are often dismissed by men as unsuitable or not “proper” exercise. Undoubtedly the fact that in Pilates exercises we use the pelvic floor muscles and this has contributed to this misconception as pelvic floor exercises are usually recommended after child-birth. However, it must be understood that this is not the main focus of Joseph Pilates exercises, and improved pelvic floor function, whilst being a significant benefit, is a bonus, such as petrol is a by-product in the refining of oil.
Another thing to bear in mind is that men also have pelvic floor muscles that need to be maintained in good order, as strong pelvic floor muscles have been shown to reduce the incidence of impotency and incontinence in later life. Pelvic floor exercises are now often prescribed instead of Viagra.
Men often have poor posture caused by either sitting for long periods at a desk or driving. They also often have back problems caused by heavy lifting and other physical labour. Pilates’ exercises improve posture and strengthen muscles including those that stabilise the spine and therefore reduce back pain.
Benefits of Pilates:
- Improved joint mobility, reducing risk of injury
- Improved skeletal alignment
- Improved flexibility, posture and movement quality
- Improved core & spinal stability
- Increase CO2 intake through better breathing
- Improved circulatory & lymphatic systems
- Reduce stress and lower blood pressure