Long-Time Soccer Player Reaps Benefits of Pilates

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Ahmad Ghais has been an Apex Center guest for six years, and is one of the “charter members” of the first Pilates Reformer classes that started here in January 2008.

He took mat Pilates at the Apex Center when he and his wife moved to the Denver area from the east coast. They began as SilverSneakers participants, and later Ahmad switched to Reformer classes.

He now does four Pilates Reformer sessions each week at the Apex Center. “There’s no pounding, no stress and I enjoy the stretching,” he said. Ahmad takes three group Reformer classes and supplements with a weekly private lesson. After his workouts, he says he feels better all day, is more relaxed, sleeps better and tends to eat better.

“I first began taking Pilates on the advice of my daughter-in-law in Maryland,” Ahmad said. Being an avid soccer player for decades until age 48, and a referee until age 72, Ahmad was interested in improving fitness, increasing flexibility and reducing aches and pains. “Soccer is a high-impact sport, and especially as a referee, pivoting quickly to run downfield caused knee problems. The knees and back are both areas I work on. Pilates is great for me because it’s gentle and free of impact-related issues.”

Pilates is now Ahmad’s principal form of exercise. He’s a retired technology executive with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering/computer science. He worked with satellites telecommunications for NASA – and due to the demands of the work, “didn’t do as much regular exercise in a gym.”

As a soccer player, however, he stayed active but incurred some sports-related problems. “Heading the ball and coming down, I could really feel the impact on the spine.” He also remembers vividly watching the 1982 World Cup Soccer Tournament while laid up with back problems: “Brazil lost!”

Ahmad is a wonderful example of the benefits of Pilates. His cheerfulness, dedication and persistence are an inspiration to the Apex community. “I’m in this for the long haul,” he said, and encourages newcomers, especially men, to try it out. “More men should take Pilates!”

Pilates can also be suitable for those recovering from injuries or have ongoing issues, Terrell Goodson, program coordinator, notes that “Our program helps with disabilities, injuries and other problems. It’s very rehabilitation-oriented, helping with core strengthening, balance, flexibility, toning and mental focus.”

Download the activity guide or visit our online registration page for current pilates class schedules.