What do Tiger Woods, Curt Schilling and Kobe Bryant all have in common? Pilates. Men, get the image of a bunch of ladies stretching while talking about their feelings out of your head. Believe it or not, Pilates was created by a man and originally tested on men. Regardless of your current level of fitness, do not let the stereotypical image of Pilates intimidate or deter you from experimenting with something new. From a stronger core to better sex, here are 5 reasons why you need Pilates in your life now.
1. Stronger Core
Plain and simple, your core is your body’s engine. All of life’s movements should initiate from there. You would not want to power a Mustang with a 4-cylinder engine. So, training your body without proper core technique is the same. Pilates will teach you how to properly power every movement from your core. Throughout every session, all four layers of your abs will be challenged, strengthened and stretched. But, did you know your core extends far beyond just your abs? It is time for a proper core introduction. Practicing Pilates will help you unlock the true power of your core and give you a better understanding of powering all of life’s movements from it. This will ultimately enhance all of your daily activities from functional movement to hard core fitness.
2. Better Posture
It is true, proper spinal alignment is necessary for overall health and to help reduce pain in the neck, back and shoulders. But, more importantly, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Pilates improves your posture and teaches you how to stand tall. Standing tall gives off an air of confidence. People perceive you as stronger, in control, and aware of what you want. Better posture will reflect in a positive way in the boardroom, on a date, playing a round of golf with colleagues-the list is endless. Never underestimate the power of good, pain-free posture.
3. Increased Flexibility
Generally speaking, the more muscle mass you have, the less flexible you are. Men typically have very tight muscles, especially the hamstrings. Not being able to touch your toes may not seem like a big deal, but wouldn’t it be nice to avoid pulling a hamstring while bending over to tie your shoe or picking up a free weight from the gym floor? Unfortunately, you often don’t realize the importance of flexibility until the body makes you understand. A healthy muscle is a balance between strength and flexibility. What is so great about Pilates is that you are NOT required to sit and hold a stretch to lengthen your muscles out. Rather, the technique was designed to create more flexibility through movement. While you are strengthening one muscle, you are lengthening and stretching the opposing muscle. All you men out there who hate to stretch will not even realize that you are stretching throughout the entire workout. You will, however, be very aware of all the new muscles you discover as they burn and quiver.
4. Prevent Injury
Whether you are looking to improve athletic performance, increase mobility in an aging body or rehab from an injury or illness, practicing Pilates will result in a better quality of life overall. In a nut shell, Pilates increases core strength and flexibility while teaching you and improving the body’s ability to move more efficiently and effectively. Combined with better balance, coordination and neuromuscular control, the body now has an extra layer of protection against injury. Pilates, in my mind, sort of becomes your hidden superpower.
5. Better Sex
Pilates strengthens the core and pelvic floor while increasing flexibility. Men who practice Pilates have more control of their body in this area. Any questions?
So, whether you are a gym rat or prepping for your first fitness class, practicing Pilates will greatly benefit you. Plus, this is just a short list of all Pilates has to offer. Moving through life stronger, pain-free and with increased mobility seems like a no-brainer. Think outside the box and try something new. If nothing else, your significant other will thank you.
Melody Gamba is the Pilates Director at C.O.R.E. Pilates Mind/Body studio and a professional dancer with Fusionworks Dance Company. After personally using Pilates as rehabilitative exercise from a serious dance injury, she has become passionate about helping others enjoy an energized, pain-free life through movement.