Article by Jo Harvey, Sport and Wellbeing
Real men pump iron don't they? Pilates is too easy and it isn't really exercise is it?
Try telling that to the countless premier league football teams, international cricket teams, golfers, tennis players and Olympic athletes across the land who all incorporate Pilates-based exercises into their weekly training regime.
Joseph Pilates (the founder) was a boxer and self-defence instructor and although dancers were among the first converts to the benefits of the Pilates Method, it's interesting to note that there are many sporting heroes who have found better performance, posture and core strength with Pilates in their lives. The best news of all for men is that you don't have to be a sportsman, professional or otherwise, to enjoy and reap the massive benefits of Pilates.
We are at last seeing a very a small increase in the number of men attending fitness classes as it is becoming more apparent that Pilates is just as good, if not better, for them as pumping iron, doing circuit or any type of sports training.
Joe Pilates developed his exercises for both men and women and around 25% of those attending Pilates classes today are men. Pilates is an effective form of exercise because it develops your core strength, strengthens your back, improves your posture and makes you more flexible too which is something that ALL men can benefit from just as much as women.
According to Dr Tom Crisp, a sports and orthopaedic specialist at BUPA Wellness, the best way for men to improve posture and develop muscle strength is to attack the body's core muscles - those around the trunk area. Exercises that will have the most positive effect without strain are undoubtedly Pilates.
"Men who want to get fit would do well to get in touch with their feminine side" said Dr Tom Crisp. "The core muscles that fitness fanatics keep talking about act like a corset around your trunk, take pressure off your back and pull all the other abdominal muscles into the right place." You never know - a six pack maybe yours for the taking!
Those core muscles which Pilates targets so perfectly can help alleviate back problems and help develop a flat stomach. Two things that top the list of many a man's health and fitness wish list. Most Pilates studios or community sessions offer mixed Pilates classes and there is an increasing number are now offering classes just for men too!
So remember. Real men do Pilates. So why don't you get your mat and join them today!