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How Pilates Improves Your Athletic Score
By Pilates Master Ivon Dahl, Ph.D.


Pilates’ hidden treasures are continuing to be discovered by elite athletes in professional sports, Olympic Games and even the movie industry. Pilates exercises prepare you for physical success by targeting your deep muscle strength. These muscles are integral in posture, alignment and quick movement responses.

The deep muscles, also known as intrinsic muscles, are initially developed in an infant during the crawling and sitting stages of life. It is apparent how strong a baby’s intrinsic muscles are if you’ve ever felt their grip or were hit in the face by a swinging arm. These muscles are further conditioned when a child begins climbing, biking and swimming. It is at this stage that the baby-belly begins to tighten-up and balance and coordination are fine-tuned.

When a person enters his or her teenage years, the extrinsic (surface) muscles develop. When these muscles over-develop or when a person begins to rely on these superficial muscles for mobility, balance and posture, the deeper muscles are starved of nutrients, and they begin to atrophy. This is called ‘muscle death’.

The teenage years are the most crucial in maintaining inner, intrinsic strength. By strengthening these deep muscles, teenage athletes can have a competitive edge in sports and life. It will enhance motor skills, reaction time, and bring an athlete closer to reaching his or her full physical potential.

Besides the added benefits Pilates gives to an athlete, Pilates also has lasting, life-long benefits that continue into adulthood. When a person reaches adulthood, it is easy to get busy with work or family, and it becomes harder to practice sports or lift weights. Without stimulus, those outside muscles will begin to soften and hang. By the time this happens, the intrinsic muscles have given-up and wasted away, causing bad posture, weakness and joint compression. By making Pilates a life-long exercise program, you can continue to keep your inner muscles strong and flexible, combating many of the problems of aging.

For immediate benefits and to score high in your appearance or sports activities, choose Pilates. For longevity and a healthier lifestyle, Pilates is essential.

To learn more about Pilates, please visit www.InternationalPilates.org.

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