The Surprising Benefits of Pilates for Athletes
Pilates has been a favorite of many high-level athletes, from world champ surfer Stephanie Gilmore to pro basketball players like LeBron James. And while the exercise may seem a little intimidating, it can actually be really accessible to everyone–even those with a lot of experience in other fitness styles.
Boosts Flexibility, Mobility and Strength
Pilates improves flexibility and core strength to help keep your body free from injury. This is particularly useful for athletes who need to stay flexible in order to run faster or jump higher. And it also helps you maintain your core stability, a vital skill for athletes who are in danger of losing their balance.
Mindfulness and body awareness
Unlike other types of exercises, Pilates is all about moving your whole body in a mindful way, with the intention of making each movement a conscious choice. This means that you’ll be able to better identify and address any physical challenges that arise throughout the day. It can be a great help when you’re trying to overcome pain, whether it’s from an injury or just a nagging neck ache.
Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Inflammation
One of the most common problems for athletes is chronic stress, which can lead to high blood pressure, depression, headaches, stomachaches and a host of other issues. It’s also a risk factor for injury, and Toowoomba pilates can reduce these problems by improving breathing techniques and strengthening the muscles that control your nervous system.
Athletes who do their workouts a few times a week can benefit from the gentle approach of Pilates, says Nichol. Pilates’s slow-paced movements, light stimulation of the muscles and symmetrical movement patterns help athletes to reset their body after a hard workout or a stressful day at the office.
Improving Your Mental Game
A Pilates practice is all about mindfulness, which can help you develop a healthy attitude toward your body and a stronger connection to your goals. It’s also a great way to learn to accept and give yourself grace in situations where you might feel tempted to over-do it.
This ability to be present and in the moment will serve you well when you’re competing or just need a break from the chaos of your everyday life. It’ll make you more prepared to face a tough situation or a difficult conversation with a friend, for example, when you might otherwise want to shut down.
The Optimise Health Pilates Principles (breathing, centering, concentration and flowing movement) are also a great tool for athletes. Breathing helps connect your mind to your body, centering reminds you of where your focus should be, concentration helps you get the most out of each movement and flowing movement keeps you from getting overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.
Builds and reinforces proper posture and alignment
The shoulder bridge is a perfect pilates exercise for athletes who need to strengthen their shoulders, especially the rotator cuff. The exercise works the hamstrings, the glutes and the pelvic spine to help ensure you maintain correct posture and alignment as you raise your knees and feet off the floor.