(MENAFN -Khaleej Times) Be good to your body, and discover the myriad benefits of Pilates at Upandrunning in Umm Suqeim
DO YOU FEEL a tweak in your back when you’re rolling out of bed in the morning? Or topple over when attempting to put on a pair of trousers?
If so, it’s likely that your core strength isn’t up to scratch – a problem which can affect everyone from athletes to couch potatoes, and is often exacerbated by slouching at an office desk for hours on end every day.
Instead of slogging away on the treadmill or curling weights to get fit, why not try stabilising your entire body using little more than its own weight.
What is Pilates?
Far from being a faddish fitness craze, Pilates is a recognised method to achieve and maintain strength throughout the body. The system was invented by the German-born Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, combining his knowledge in a broad range of fields such as bodybuilding, nursing, circus performing, yoga and gymnastics.
Who does Pilates?
The practice is widespread in the sporting world. Among its devotees are the world’s most expensive footballer Gareth Bale (who moved from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid for Dhs517 million last summer) and Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs (who has astounded everyone by continuing to play at the top level into his 40s). Tiger Woods, LeBron James and David Beckham have also espoused its numerous benefits. Pilates is hugely popular among non-sporting famous folk as well – with followers including Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. After getting hooked on Pilates, Four Weddings and a Funeral star Grant claimed, “Now I have muscles of steel and could easily deal with giving birth.”
Hannah Wilkinson runs a Pilates class every Sunday and Monday night at the Upandrunning Integrated Sports Medical Centre in Umm Suqeim. The hour-long session (from 7pm on both nights) is open to all, and is ideal for those suffering from nagging injuries.
The key to the low-impact class is improving core strength (which emanates from the middle of the body) and correcting muscle imbalances. This is done via a series of mat exercises.
“The aim of the class is to teach us to be more aware of our bodies and how we move,” says Hannah, who hails from England and also works as a physiotherapist at Upandrunning.
“We function best when our core is well-controlled and strong. If our core is weak or not functioning correctly, it leads to poor movement control, poor balance and ultimately pain or injury.”
Class numbers are kept to a minimum (five people or fewer) to ensure that participants are watched closely in their endeavours and offered constructive feedback.
“Pilates gives us the ability to stabilise through our centre and move our arms and legs in a controlled manner,” Hannah explains. “In the class, we correct people’s movement dysfunction by strengthening specific muscle groups which relate to the core.”
Not only do such exercises correct the body’s movement, they also decrease pain and stiffness, increase strength and help prevent future injuries.
“This in turn allows athletes to improve their technique and run faster, and it also helps people with their day-to-day lives as they become more powerful, flexible and mobile,” says Hannah. - Pilates classes cost Dhs900 for a block of six sessions, which can be used at any time. To book, call 04 328 4600 and request a short screening session with Hannah.