The Stereotypes, Common Misconceptions & Benefits of Pilates
I’m sure we’ve all seen the stereotypical audience that Pilates attracts on American TV shows; Women in their tight fitting activewear, with their almond milk lattes, having a juicy gossip sesh. So, I’m not surprised when I hear my patients expressing concerns that they don’t think they are suited to Pilates or the pilates ‘crowd’. BUT, pilates does not exclude, it is for everyone!
When offering Pilates as an option for treatment to my male patients, I often get a smirk or laugh as a reply because the majority view it as an exercise for women only. But, that is the furthest from the truth. Pilates was actually developed by a male, Joe Pilates, in an attempt to improve his own health and physical fitness. He then implemented it in camps during World War I to help rehabilitate injured soldiers. Joe, born and raised in Germany, originally created a series of 34 mat based exercises which soon developed into a number of different exercises, incorporating a range of different equipment. In 1925 Joe emigrated to the US where he opened his own studio, broadening his audience to both men and women.
Times have evolved and since, Pilates is now commonly assumed to be a Women’s form of exercise with only 25% of participants being Men.
But what you maybe didn’t know… David Beckham, football star and legend took up pilates, practising it for one hour a day. He reaped the benefits – improved mobility, flexibility, coordination, balance but he also experienced a loss in body fat, in which he expressed that he was “in the best shape in years”. So, there you have it men… if you want a supple muscular body like Beckham, come give Pilates a crack! We can learn a lot through Pilates and definitely improve our performance throughout other daily activities in doing so.
Pilates is a great form of exercise and unlike most other types of exercise, it targets the whole body (with particular emphasis on the deep core muscles). Pilates works to improve flexibility, stability, control and strength. Attention is drawn to technique, postural alignment, body awareness, control and breathing. A number of studies have even shown its effectiveness in reducing pain and disability in those suffering from Chronic Low Back Pain.
These are all great, yes, but my favourite thing about Pilates is that it can be tailored to any individual, no matter what age, gender or skill level. There are a number of exercises that can be performed either on a mat, reformer, trapeze table or using additional equipment. Each exercise can be as gentle or physically demanding as you want it to be.
One of the reasons I love taking our Body Reform class is because of the variation, fun and laughs had. In a class I can have a middle aged male increasing his intensity with some 7kg dumbbells, a teenager pumping out some leg work on the reformer, a 70+ year old woman doing a single leg press on the trapeze table or a mum doing some gentle core and stretching mat work.
Each class is like a family, inclusive of all and with a common goal to improve physical and mental well-being.
Come tone up, improve your control, strength and perform at your peak every day!
Interested yet? Click the link below to book in with our Pilates guru Soph and she’ll help create a pilates program fit for you, whether that be a home program or program to follow along in one of our classes.