Joyce Gavin, from BODY FIRM Pilates in Dublin tells us about the benefits of Pilates for Men.
Pilates was of course created by a man, Joseph Pilates. The surge in popularity in recent times may be driven by women, but it should be remembered that Joe Pilates’ original programs were developed with men’s health in mind.
Pilates was designed to help men overcome conditions, strains and stresses that occur as a result of the daily routine of life or Activities of Daily Living (ADL). In other words, how one walks, sits, carries a case or weight, walks a dog, swings a golf club or tennis racket, kicks a ball, runs, jumps, climbs, rests, etc.
Joe Pilates wanted to achieve flexibility and strength through core conditioning (strengthening the muscles of the abdominals and torso) and balanced muscle development and co-ordination throughout the body.
In looking at how people approach physical activity, while this can apply to anyone, consider a traditional scenario where a boy takes up a sport or training from an early age and develops poor training practices.
By not developing core strength or correct exercise habits, over time a weak core, postural dysfunctions and destructive workout routines will result. The symptoms of these will become manifest in the form of joint and muscle pain and inflexibility, particularly of hamstrings (ouch!).
Later, poor work practices in terms of handling goods, sitting at a desk or driving a vehicle will result in similar problems. When we take up an exercise routine we generally have a number of specific goals in mind: Get fit; lose weight; reduce stress; improve sleep; improve muscle tone, increase stamina, etc.
Traditional routes men choose to achieve these goals have been to join a gym, run, swim, etc, whereas women, in addition to trying the above, tend to be more open to Pilates, yoga or similar programs.