FITNESS FOCUS: that’s right, you read correctly, Pilates is for football players too! Many NFL teams have instituted Pilates programs into their strengthening and conditioning training for their athletes. Donovan McNabb has even stated that he prepares for games by doing Pilates movements. Developing strength and flexibility simultaneously is an efficient way for the athletes to stay healthy and avoid injury. Ok, so great, it works for professional athletes, but what about the rest of us? Can those of us who CHEER for football players benefit from doing the same exercises as these seasoned and serious athletes?
To put it simply, YES! The following exercise was taken from an actual Pilates routine developed for lineman on a college football team. Standing Footwork strengthens the legs, pelvis, and core, increases hip flexibility, and improves balance. ALL of these benefits are useful for the football fan during the “work out” of standing and jumping as you cheer on your team.
Begin in standing neutral spine. *Heels are together, feet are slightly turned out in Pilates “V” stance.
While maintaining the Pilates “V”, inhale and rise up onto the toes. Go slowly, maintain proper alignment, keep heels together.
Exhale as you bring the heels back to the ground while maintaining a neutral spine.
Inhale as you maintain proper Pilates alignment, bring the tailbone toward the floor as you bend your knees. Your hips will also bend slightly.
Exhale as you come back up to the start position.
If you are having trouble balancing, place your hand lightly on a wall for stability.
The exercise is repeated eight times.
FAITH FOCUS: Hebrews 11 in the Bible is sometimes referred to the “Hall of Faith”. It is a list of the acts of faith performed by believers. Although it can be inspiring to read about how Noah listened to God and was saved from the Great Flood, or how Moses led the Israelites, lets face it, sometimes, it can be intimidating! We may think, “Well, sure Abraham was prepared to do God’s will…He was ABRAHAM! He heard God, of course he listened!…I am just a regular person, I don’t even know if I hear God at all. How can I do it? I don’t have that much faith!”…Take heart, one of the best parts of Hebrews 11 is the last two verses:
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11: 39-40)
These were God’s chosen leaders of the faith, and yet, they did not receive what had been promised! They knew that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” They were unsure also, just like you and me, but they went through with the “movement” the “exercise” of life as God had directed. So, you see, we don’t have to be a “hall of fame” athlete or a “hall of faith” believer, we just need to know that God has planned something better for us…so let’s stand on our FEET and do the WORK!