Is Pilates suitable for men?
Join me to a 6 course of Chair Pilates starting Wednesday the 19th of May - Could be done live or on catch up but preferably live so I can correct you when needed.
Firstly Pilates was invented by Joseph Pilates who was very much a man.
It has been and still is a major training method for elite dancers and athletes both men and women
Pilates is one of the fastest-growing fitness trends in the world, and men are definitely taking advantage of Pilates' and the benefits of Pilates.
Pilates is founded on healthy movement principles for the human body.
I have quite a few couples that are doing Pilates regularly with me. They all started with the wife dragging the husband to try it. The husband comes to class reluctantly and get hooked.... as soon as they realise how stiff and immobile they are, how weak is their core strength, lack of balance etc they are eager to make progress and once they have improved different aspects by then they are hooked as they see and feel the results.
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Below you can read the thoughts of men who are doing Pilates with me mostly with their wives:
"I’ve been a Pilates student for around 10 years.
I started after a back injury put at risk many of the activities I had begun to enjoy in retirement. I just couldn’t face the fact that what I had looked forward to and enjoyed would be denied to me. A GP suggested Pilates and it was with some trepidation I signed myself up to a series of lessons.
I have never looked back.
Pilates is an activity you can do in a group, on your own, at home, on your travels, with or without props. More men are now participating; from being the sole man in a class I’m regularly joined by 4 or 5 others.
How has it helped me? Well, I am more confident in knowing my limitations. I engage in gardening, cycling, walking and golf, with ease/fewer concerns about injury I truly believe Pilates has been the reason I am able to fully enjoy these activities.
However, life is not always one way, occasionally I suffer a back, shoulder, knee or similar problem, usually caused by over exuberance in some other activity but my recovery time is far faster than it was before I started Pilates.
Pilates is a leveller and it’s also great to meet like minded people.
I look forward to taking Pilates into the future with me". David (Age 75)
"It's always good to stand taller and Pilates is great for straightening your back and holding your shoulders back. I'm 67 years old and had a problem with my back that I thought doomed me to walk in a hunched way for the rest of my life. Through Pilates I have strengthened the muscles of my back, my back pain has gone and I stand and walk much more upright than I did. I can get up easily from the floor and when I'm reaching for things (DIY and computer cables) it's so much simpler. Who would have thought mobility classes would help with reversing a car! It's so much easier when you can turn your body round so easily and see where you are going. :-)" (Kevin age 67)
"There are a number of ways Pilates has helped me. I now have significantly improved core strength which helps in all sorts of ways. For example if we are hillwalking over rough ground I can use my core to pull my muscles together and better cope with the challenge. It also helps to cope with fatigue at the end of a long walk, avoiding trips or falls.
The concentration on posture has also been beneficial as I stoop less and concentrate on being upright. My balance has also improved so I am less likely to stumble or fall. These things are important as we get older.
When driving I now consciously pull myself upright rather than hunch which helps reduce fatigue on long car journeys. My joints are more in alignment and move more smoothly. I don’t get aches or pains in my joints. As my spine is regularly flexed and stretched in the sessions I don’t get back pain even after heavy lifting or gardening.
I have been doing Pilates with Naama since I retired at 65. It’s been 4 years now and I look forward to every session - the more challenging the better. When I started, at the instigation of my wife, I was sceptical but found myself struggling with many of the postures that she could easily manage. I could see that if I could also manage these my body would be stronger and more flexible, which it has become. I recommend Pilates to all my male friends. If they are sceptical, as I was, I suggest they try it to find out for themselves. I see this as a lifetime exercise to keep my body strong and supple." (Stewart age 69)
"I agree most men think Pilates is for ladies, like me for years they didn't know what they are missing, I have a weak back so strengthening my core is vital and
since taking up Pilates I hardly suffer from it. Interesting enough I usually sit down to tie my shoe laces and don't think about it, I have always known that stretching is very good for me, but I think men need to be organized especially when the are 70 years old and would not do it without doing the classes! Also by doing the classes your balance improves and they make sure you do both exercise and stretching correctly!
I enjoy doing the classes with the girls and am lucky to have a wife that does them with me and also keeps me in line" (Bill age 70 )
"I am a 65 year old young man! and have been attending Naama’s Pilates classes for over two years now and although she works on the core I have found that it has also helped me tremendously with the strength of all my muscles but particularly calf’s and hamstrings which helps keep me very mobile for participating in walking football matches which does also involve semi sprinting so strength in the legs is very important and avoids pulling muscles while tying the laces!
In addition, my all round mobility has improved for body upper strength and lower back where that is very important for my part time driving jobs where access to parked vehicles could be a challenge as well as my volunteering at a National Trust property where responsibilities include gardening and general maintenance of outdoor fencing walls etc some of which could be in confined areas so good manoeuvrability is required
Therefore, I would totally recommend men to join Naama’s classes as besides the obvious health benefits and general well being both mentally and physically it is also great fun and excellent value for money. " (Malcolm age 65)
"I am in my 80th year and have been doing Pilates weekly for nearly three years. I have always been a fairly active person but recognised that as I was getting older, it was important to increase the strength of my core to prevent back problems and improve my posture.
I have found the exercises of Pilates good for my overall well being. The stretching and strengthening exercises have definitely improved my core strength and my overall flexibility and stamina. An additional benefit has been to make me aware of my posture when walking, standing and sitting. I do Pilates with my wife who has benefited a lot from the exercises. We both do it twice a week without fail and we feel so much stronger for it. We put our friends to shame....... " (Michael Age 80)
"I was an active member of a Gym for 20 plus years doing a combination of spin classes, circuit training and floor exercises 4 times a week. However, due to personal circumstances, 3 to 4 years ago I cancelled my membership.
I started running from home to keep fit but found I was starting to stiffen up and have more frequent back aches which were taking longer to recover. It was the day-to-day things that I most noticed such as putting on socks/shoes, gardening and doing DIY jobs in awkward places like under the sink or cramped cupboards. All were becoming more effort to start and it was taking longer to recover from the stiffness afterwards.
About a year ago my wife said she was going to try out a Pilates course with Naama and I decided that given I had just turned 60 and my flexibility was only going to get worse if I didn’t do something, I decided to try the class as well. I have to say it was a good decision! The classes are challenging and fun. Naama puts a lot of effort in to keeping the classes interesting and challenging by varying the exercises using a Gym ball, chair, stretch band etc. combined with floor exercises.
End result is flexibility in my shoulders, back, hips and legs have improved. I’m also more aware of my posture which helps my back and neck resulting in fewer back aches and shorter recovery time. The day-to-day activities are now less effort all round.
So, if you want to improve flexibility in your shoulders, hips and legs and want to help your back, I recommend you try Naama’s class!"
"I never thought that I could be persuaded to join a Pilates class. I didn’t really know what it involved and didn’t want to be the only male in the class. I would have preferred to just stick to swimming once or twice a week. However, after looking in on the class and seeing about five men taking part, and finding out what was involved, I decided to give it a go. Naama, the class tutor, was highly recommended. We were welcomed into the class and Naama made sure that she knew about any problems which bothered us.
That was three years ago. When the pandemic arrived, forcing health clubs to close, Naama developed a Zoom based business and we have kept our class friendships going, having chats before and after class. I now take part in three sessions per week and I must say that I really do see a definite improvement in my physical strength and balance. It didn’t happen overnight. You can become unfit very quickly but it takes commitment to get your body working as it should. Before Pilates, I just accepted that, at 72 years, my body was ageing and it was inevitable that my joints would become more painful and I would become less mobile.
How wrong could I be. Yes, I do get problems with some of joints, but Naama makes allowances for individual problems and will advise you how best to do an exercise. I find that now at nearly 75 years, I am far more agile. Every now and then, I find myself thinking, gosh I couldn’t have done that before. Things that affect your everyday living have become easier. I had got into the habit of walking down one stair at a time, making sure that both feet were on the same step, before moving down to the next one. I didn’t feel stable and was scared of falling. Now I walk up and down like a 20 year old. Bending over to put on shoes had become quite challenging, but no longer. I now delight at being able to stand on one leg whilst dressing, without losing my balance. My greatest challenge came last weekend whilst gardening. I have a raised border and wanted to put a plant in a small area at the back. This was difficult as the border is well stocked with plants. There was only one small patch to place my left foot on, keeping the right foot firmly on the path. I had to stand on my right leg, lift my left leg, at right angle to my body, balance and position my left foot onto the available gap in the flowers. After the planting, I then lifted my left leg, without losing my balance and stood firmly on the path again. So there you have it, if you want to improve your balance, co-ordination and physical strength, I strongly recommend Naama’s classes."
"I came to Pilates (with Naama) late in life after a history of back problems and sciatica which had left me with one dropped foot, the other with partial numbness and the rest of my body with little mobility. I’d never really considered Pilates as an option for a man in his early sixties and had rather accepted that my physical state was a natural deterioration and that there was little I could do about my flexibility or mobility. I had muddled along for years still able to walk, play golf, surf, dig the garden and allotment, albeit in a rather ungainly (and sometimes painful) fashion.
Well chaps, Pilates has given me a new lease of life, my core stability has been strengthened and my flexibility and coordination improved. Although now 68 I feel that I can move and walk more easily, tie up my shoes and just about keep up with the grandchildren.
I still fall over my feet, but my back has been pain-free for five years and is ramrod straight, I can spend a day digging or walking without any long term after-effects and what’s more I can still cut my own toe nails without the help of chiropodist!" (Martin F. Age 68)
"I used to train and teach martial arts regularly but had to stop due to injuries picked up over the years. After stopping I lost flexibility and gained some weight. I started Pilates as a low impact exercise program to try to tone up and get back to regular exercise. The results for me had been noticeable, I am getting back flexibility and stamina that I lost while losing weight wand toning up.Yes I do think most men would benefit from Pilates; it makes you more aware of which muscles you are using and you can see when you are cheating/compensating when doing something
Balance is slightly improved (I have always cycled and Karate needed balance) stronger core helps with balance for sure. It helps DIY especially in small spaces such as the loft as you can stretch and lean better without needing so much support. Also strengthened core helpful for lifting carrying tools, timber etc
It would no doubt benefit in sports where changes in direction are needed".