Pilates for men >My physiotherapist told me that if I wanted to sort myself out in time, avoid surgery and ensure that the same thing didn’t happen again, it was time to start making some major changes. If I didn’t, she warned, I might no longer be able to do the thing that I love the most (after my wife): write.
And so I embarked on the long and – often painful – path that, 12 months later, has brought me to a mat in an upstairs studio of the Light Centre in Belgravia, being urged by my instructor, Sam Webster, to perfect a mermaid stretch and trying not to whimper about the ache in my hamstrings.
For I am now a pilates man. And I am not alone.
As ever more of us sit down and stare at screens for a living, back pain is becoming the great leveller of our age. Humans are evolved to move, twist, bend and roam, not sit hunched in an office chair for 12 hours a day. In the technological era, we have moved from a species that is dependent on our bodies to one that relies on our brains. And the damage we are doing to ourselves in the process is profound.
The latest Health and Safety Executive figures show nearly 10 million working days are lost each year for adults aged 25 to 64 because of back pain, costing the economy £12 billion a year. Around 80 per cent of us will suffer from back pain at some point in our lives. It is men aged between 45 and 54 who are deemed most at risk of developing problems, an age bracket that is creeping down all the time.