Pilates has followed hot on the heels of yoga, becoming one of the trendiest workouts in the U.S. Celebrities love talking about it, and Pilates studios are sprouting up faster than pizza shops. But unfortunately, just like yoga, Pilates has a reputation for being “a woman’s workout.” If you can get past the stigma, Pilates is an excellent way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscle. This can help reduce symptoms of urinary incontinence and improve erectile dysfunction (ED).
Pilates Really Is For Guys
Would it reassure you to know that Pilates was actually invented by a guy? Joseph Pilates was born in Germany, but found himself in England when WWI broke out. He was placed in an internment camp. Instead of sitting around twiddling his thumbs, Joseph Pilates decided to use his spare time to develop his core muscles. He invented a series of exercises that are the foundation of modern Pilates. Previously, Joseph Pilates had been an avid fitness buff, mastering boxing and wrestling. He also used his studies of anatomy to become a bodybuilder. So really, Pilates has no business being stigmatized as the sole jurisdiction of women. But if you still can’t bring yourself to attend a class, check out some Pilates DVDs from your local library or video store instead.
Pilates for Prostate Health
The pelvic floor muscle stabilizes your core and provides support for the bladder and prostate gland. Strengthening this muscle can reduce symptoms of urinary incontinence. Prostate cancer has also been linked to the deterioration of the pelvic floor muscle, so using Pilates to strengthen this muscle may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Zip and Hollow
Lie down on a Pilates mat or a blanket on the floor. Get comfortable, but try not to fall asleep. Extend your legs flat along the floor. Place your hands on your lower abdomen so that your thumbs point toward your belly button, your fingers point toward your feet, and the palms of the hands are on the pelvic bone. As you inhale, contract your abdomen muscles so that the belly button sinks down toward your spine.
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your arms down by your sides. Notice how your lower back doesn’t quite meet the floor. Flex your hips so that the lower back is pressed into the floor. This causes the pelvic muscles to rotate upwards. Hold this for three to five seconds, and then release.
Stay in the same position that you used to begin the pelvic tilt exercises. Flatten your lower back against the floor. As you do so, move your legs slightly to one side. Keep the bottoms of your feet pressed against the floor as you move your legs, and keep your legs together. Return to the starting position. Then, flatten your lower back again and move your legs to the other side.
These Pilates exercises that are designed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscle do not involve much movement. Don’t worry about making large, elaborate movements – you’re still exercising your target muscles even though it may not seem like you’re doing all that much. As with any new fitness routine, talk to your doctor before trying these exercises.