Pilates can be used to improve many factors that affect men’s health; including stress, mobility and injury. This week for Men’s Health Week we discuss why more and more men are discovering the benefits Pilates can have on both their physical and mental performance.
A lot of men see the benefit in lifting weights and building up their larger muscle groups. However, we see many men neglecting other important muscles that are not only essential for overall strength but also performance.
KX Pilates uses a wide range of exercises and movements to ensure that no muscle groups are missed when building strength. The workout focuses very specifically on muscles, ligaments and tendons to build strength and maintain flexibility. This not only helps our overall strength but also is what makes the workout so uniquely challenging.
Physical tension and emotional stress have been linked directly to high blood pressure, heart disease and a range of other health issues in men (Chockalingam A, 2003). Pilates helps to help reduce this stress in the body with a range of different breathing techniques.
Pilates focuses on controlled breathing which not only helps you when working out to engage specific muscles and focus, but can help you also lower your everyday stress levels.
Lateral breathing exercises used throughout a Pilates class have been used to confirm the stress-reducing power of proper oxygenation (Pilates and Robbins, 2012) as breathing deeply pushes your body into the desirable state it naturally attains when you’re relaxed.
Flexibility work is one thing that many men tend to skip when working out. Pilates is a great way to improve this flexibility by not only strengthening muscles, but also stretching and lengthening them.
Improved flexibility helps increase your mobility over time, this is specifically important to maintain as you age. Naturally one’s flexibility declines as the years go by because these muscles stiffen. If you don’t maintain and increase flexibility as you age the muscles can shorten, making your day-to-day activities more difficult.
Often when you have a small injury you are unable to workout at all. One thing that sets KX Pilates apart from other workouts is our trainers ability to personalise the class to you and your injuries. Whether you have a bad back or a weak shoulder our trainers are able to offer you regressions to account for this – meaning you can continue your training even with an issue that could normally keep you out of action.
Not only this, but KX workouts focus heavily on core strength which is ultimately what underpins many of the actions you do daily, particularly in your lower spine. Strengthening up your core through Pilates goes a long way in preventing common back injuries that increase as you age – especially in those who also engage in other sports and workouts.
We’re not saying you need to quit the sports you love and do Pilates everyday. But instead, we’re here to tell you the benefits that Pilates can have in improving your performance in these sports. Cristiano Ronaldo and Serena Williams are just two of the many professional athletes that have spoken about the benefits of Pilates to keep them injury-free and at the top of their game.
By taking the things you have gained from Pilates and implementing them into the practice of other sports can give athletes a mental and physical edge on their opponents by increasing performance with better strength, flexibility, stamina and focus.