Sheena Rathi, the fitness enthusiast and young entrepreneur who has the master franchise for Yasmin Karachiwala's Body Image studio in M block, Greater Kailash 2, New Delhi shares some valuable insight on Pilates.
The popular Pilates fitness studio chain, known for its celebrity Bollywood clientele, has been at the forefront of popularizing Pilates in the country.
Pilates is a form of exercise, which concentrates on strengthening the body and helps to improve general fitness and overall well-being. Pilates uses your body weight for resistance and focuses on working both small and large groups of muscles. Over time, core strength, flexibility and muscle tone will begin to increase. In Pilates, your muscles are never worked to exhaustion, so there is no sweating or straining, just intense concentration.
The workout consists of a variety of exercise sequences that are performed in low repetitions, usually five to ten times, over a session of 45 to 90 minutes. Mat work and specialised equipment for resistance are used a typical Pilates workout includes a number of exercises and stretches. Each exercise is performed with attention to proper breathing techniques and abdominal muscle control. To gain the maximum benefit, you should do Pilates at least two or three times per week. You may notice postural improvements after 10 to 20 sessions.
The health benefits of Pilates include improved flexibility, balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body, enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs, improved stabilization of your spine, improved posture, rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances, improved physical coordination and balance, prevention of musculoskeletal injuries, increased lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing, improved concentration and increased body awareness.
It is true that Pilates is very popular with women, but there is nothing about Pilates that makes it more for women than for men. If you start learning Pilates by taking classes you might find that women outnumber men by quite a bit, but the demographic is changing, and there are many more men in Pilates.
There is nothing specifically different about Pilates training for men, especially in the beginning. The Pilates method is the same for all. Developed on a man's body, and taught with input from both men and women, Pilates is founded on healthy movement principles for the human body in general. Men might find that their muscles are a little tighter than womens', especially in the hips and hamstrings, but exercises can be easily modified to allow those areas to stretch out gradually.
Pilates has never been 'just for women' and its benefits are certainly not gender biased. After all, a man, Joseph Pilates, who is said to have been a rather macho man at that, developed Pilates. Joe was a gymnast, a boxer, and a military trainer in his early years and pictures of Pilates even into his eighties reveal a very strong, fit physique Fortunately, now that the Pilates method is becoming so well accepted in fitness, more men are showing up in studios and training programs.
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