Let’s get sporty!
Practicing Pilates is not just about getting fit or improving your figure; it is an all over health and lifestyle choice and when practiced regularly, it can really change your life. We caught up with our very own Pilates guru, Walid Tebarki, on how Pilates can help you with other sports and the great foundations it gives you for a healthy and strong body.
How can Pilates help you with other sports?
You can compare the body to a high-rise building; they look beautiful on the outside but we don’t know how strong the foundations are. The same is with the body; just because someone looks like they have a beautiful body, doesn’t mean they aren’t physically weak or suffering from back pain, knee pain or muscle problems. Having a strong body is the most important thing for not only sports, but also every day life. In our modern, busy lifestyle we are constantly sitting working, driving or rushing around and this can take a real toll on our body. When we then do sport, we are more prone to an injury as our body is not moving as much as it should every day.
Pilates gives you strength to handle yourself better in daily life and helps your body to become more balanced. This is vital when practicing other sports as most of the time more emphasis is put on one particular side of the body, for example you play football with one foot or tennis with one arm, meaning both sides of your body are not getting enough attention at the same time. Pilates allows your body to align and strengthen your posture, core strength, and muscle power, while also improving your breathing techniques and allowing your whole body and mind to unwind.
The vital source of energy, the Chi as is known in Asian practices, is strengthened in Pilates as every exercise involves the core, which also helps us feel grounded and whole. No matter what other sport you play, having this key foundation and grounding will enable you to practice harder, push yourself more and decrease your risk of injuries.
How do you think practicing Pilates differs from other sports?
In Pilates you get to know your body and your personal limits, which is a massive help when practicing other sports. In our slower exercise and constant stretching we are pushing our muscles to their boundaries, each time going that little bit further. It is done in a controlled manner, all the time breathing and focusing your mind, compared to pushing yourself in other sports, which may be harmful.
For a full 360 approach to Pilates, it has to be a lifestyle change and not just a hobby or a sport. Pilates helps you become better connected to nature and yourself, and can really change the way you think and act. For me, my passion for Pilates has made me improve my overall lifestyle, eating healthier foods, sleeping earlier and waking up earlier, curbing my stress levels and so much more. If you only view Pilates as a sport or something you do to keep fit, you will be missing some of the meaning behind the wellbeing side of it.
Pilates is also an ever-changing practice. There are over 500 exercises, and a mixture of different techniques such as Reformer Pilates, Mat, Barre etc, meaning that no class should ever be the same!
What would you tell sportsmen/women are the 3 main benefits of them taking up Pilates?
- There is no ego in Pilates and no showing off, which we see in gyms or in many team sports. This is maybe the reason why we see a lack of men practicing Pilates, as no one cares how good looking they are even though with a serious training you will get a lean and strong body. The present moment while practicing is more important than the result. – you must be present right now. With Pilates you feel the effects before you see them, which is sometimes a challenge for men, as they want to see results straight away.
- Pilates is all about your own personal world, and no one is in the class to judge others on their ability or prove that they are the best. It is simply a place to be yourself.
- You have more energy at the end of the day. You teach your body how to do more with less effort, meaning that at the end of the day you have more time to spend with your friends and family, or on other hobbies.
- Pilates is the perfect way to prevent injuries. If you find yourself at the Physio or the Doctor, then you are too late; you are already injured. With Pilates, when practiced correctly, the chance of injury is extremely low and you can even improve your body so you don’t injure yourself when doing other sports.
Are you seeing an increase in the amount of sportsmen/women that now practice Pilates?
Yes, most of my clients regularly practice other sports. They have realised that they need to get back to the source and build inner strength, in order to improve their sporting abilities. Some have also started Pilates for pain relief or to help with an injury. We are also seeing a lot of top athletes around the world take up Pilates and some major football teams are now incorporating it into their training programmes, which is great!
To see what Walid is talking about for yourself, book a class today!