It’s that time of year again when men all around the world leave their razors aside and don overgrown hairy follicles on their upper lip, styled in many weird and wonderful ways. Welcome to Movember.
Movember was created to raise awareness and funds for the treatment of prostate cancer, along with other men’s health issues. This year, the Movember Foundation is challenging men (and women) to Move for men’s health as a way to raise money and promote exercise as a way to stay healthy.
On Prostate Cancer and Pilates
Exercise is associated with increasing survival rates among prostate cancer patients and reducing risk of prostate cancer, which affects 1 in 7 American men. Exercise also helps patients recover faster after prostate surgery.
There is one exercise especially that health professionals worldwide recommend - Pelvic Floor Strengthening. And what better form of exercise is there to strengthen your pelvic floor as well as get a great full body workout than Pilates?
Activating deep core muscles (including the pelvic floor muscles) as done in every Pilates exercise is not only associated with lowering the risk of developing prostate cancer, but is also very effective in preventing and helping with urinary leakage and erectile dysfunction, particularly prominent in post-prostate surgery.
It is actually recommended for men scheduled to have prostate surgery to begin pelvic floor strengthening long before the surgery itself, in order to rapidly decrease recovery time of bladder, bowel and erectile difficulties.
Benefits of Pilates for Men
You don’t have to be over 60 and/or more at risk of prostate cancer to do Pilates. There are many other benefits of Pilates for men. In fact, Pilates was developed by a man, for men. The circumstance that it has vastly become popular for women is simply because it has so many health benefits; it develops long lean muscles and it is versatile enough to be suitable for all age groups and ability levels.
Here are just some of the many benefits men can gain from regularly practicing Pilates:
1. Reduces Lower Back Pain
Most people will have lower back pain (LBP) at some point in their lives. Pilates is used in the treatment and prevention of LBP by physiotherapists and many other health practitioners. Pilates teaches how to support the lower back and how to strengthen or increase flexibility in certain muscles groups that cause LBP.
In addition to this, Pilates largely focuses on correcting other postural imbalances that lead to discomfort and pain in other areas of the body.
2. Enhances Sexual Performance
Yes, you read that right. Through the strengthening of your pelvic floor muscles, men are able have greater control that leads them to last longer, and have stronger contractions when they orgasm, creating a better sensation.
3. Develops Neglected Muscle Groups
Pilates, as opposed to lifting weights at the gym, works different muscle groups that are often neglected. They are usually the deeper muscles that are responsible for support and need to be strong in order to facilitate the larger muscle groups.
As Pilates forces you to move mindfully, it stops you from ‘cheating’ your way through exercises, therefore making each repetition more effective.
4. Improves Flexibility
A lot of men tend to skip this part of their workout routine. However, poor flexibility and movement is often cause for muscular pain and injuries. Many sports require a certain amount of flexibility in order to perform well and with agility. It also helps to do everyday activities with greater ease.
5. Strengthens Core
Other than the many physical benefits of strengthening your core, like preventing LBP and performing everyday activities with more ease, Pilates is also great for toning the middle section — the trouble area for most men.
6. Improves Sports Performance
Pilates is undoubtedly one of the top forms of exercise for injury prevention and rehabilitation. In addition to that, Pilates can help enhance your sporting performance in the following ways:
- Improving coordination and balance
- Increasing functional strength and power
- Correcting postural imbalances
- Developing the mind-body connection, which in turn creates enhanced body awareness, concentration and focus
So whether you play soccer in your local team on weekends, enjoy the regular game of golf with your mates or you’re a professional athlete, Pilates is certainly beneficial to your game.
To find out more and see for yourself how Pilates can benefit you, check out the Pilates for Men module and be on your way to a healthier and happier self.