I recently received my IDEA Health & Fitness Journal in the mail and was flipping through when I came across an article titled “Pilates for Recreational Athletes”.The article focused on the benefits of Pilates for athletes.
I loved this article because Pilates is so often overlooked as a method that is just for women, is too easy or doesn’t provide a lot of benefit.None of which are true!One of my favorite quotes from the article is “professional athletes of all kinds have discovered that adding Pilates to their training can improve performance, reduce injury, speed recovery and help their hardworking bodies stay balanced and healthy.”
So what is so great about Pilates for athletes?According to the article, it helps develop sport skills by implementing exercises that will help you with movement patterns for your particular sport.For example, my husband is an avid golfer and I’ve worked with him on the Pilates reformer to increase his swing strength, strengthen his hips (used in the swing) and increase flexibility in his hips and upper body to allow for greater range of motion.We also work on postural alignment to help reduce unwanted ball slices due to improper posture.
Pilates also balances the body according to the article.The thing with most sports is that they often require constant recruitment of the same muscle groups and often without bothering to lengthen them.This can create overuse and tightness in those muscle groups while simultaneously weakening other muscle groups that are not recruited.Pilates can help lengthen out the muscles and strengthen opposing muscle groups to counteract these imbalances.
Finally Pilates can help speed up recovery.A slower paced class and myofascial stimulation can help athletes recover more quickly following the stress of their sport. I find that incorporating moves that gently work the muscles and also stretch the muscles help with recovery.
The most important thing to remember is that Pilates for athletes includes the recreational athlete!You don’t have to be a professional (or even very good) to reap the benefits in your sport.Whether you love golf, tennis, skiing, biking or something else entirely, Pilates can help you improve your performance and protect your body in the long run from injuries and other strains.
I’m so happy Pilates is getting the recognition that it deserves!It’s definitely not a modality just for women and it can help people from athletes to the injured to kids!So next time you are looking to improve your game, think Pilates!