If you are looking for ways to get fit – or fitter – doing Pilates could be just what you need. Mat exercises like Pilates are dominated by women, but men too, can find ways to fine tune their muscles and fitness with Pilates. Men with lots of muscle are not necessarily as fit as they imagine because over developed muscle mass prevents flexibility unless certain exercises are done to ensure it.
Here are 10 ways in which Pilates can help men and women to get fit.
- While the muscles that are used in daily movement are usually strong and fit, there are other muscle groups that typically don’t get much exercise and this neglect makes them weaker than they should be. Pilates teaches you to focus on these muscle groups and move in ways that will strengthen them.
- Pilates teaches you how to stretch muscles that are often neglected. It is particularly good for people with muscle who don’t have the flexibility they would like. Yet it is also good for people who are not very fit as it increases the range of motion and this helps to prevent injury and strains.
- The main focus in Pilates is the core muscles. That is, those muscles in your body rather than your limbs. Core strength delivers power to your limbs. Even if you have 6-pack abs, there is another muscle set under the lowest one that can often be neglected. The transverse abdominals are really strengthened by Pilates movements.
- If you don’t have abs, doing Pilates on a regular basis will help to develop them. It can also rectify the imbalance many people have with their right and left sides.
- Pilates makes you focus on breathing properly with each movement. Doing Pilates tends to leave you feeling more relaxed and refreshed rather than tired. Sometimes those effects last through to the next day. When you feel refreshed you are more likely to do something that takes more energy and so your body will become even fitter.
- If you have a painful lower back, Pilates has been proven to help in this area by stabilising the lumbar pelvic region and increasing mobility in that area.
- Because Pilates movements are slow and controlled, it puts less stress on the joints, great whether you have arthritis or not.
- It strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, increasing sexual pleasure and making childbirth easier.
- Core strength helps to make doing other exercises such as lunges easier.
- Pilates makes you more flexible. A study found that young women who did just 20 Pilates sessions became 19% more flexible than they were before. The muscles of people who are not flexible are short and tight, limiting their range of movement.