This year I wanted to make a change and start getting into a fitness program beyond just walking for exercise, which has been my primary physical outlet so far. I loathe the gym, however, and exercising at home to a DVD has never been motivating enough for me. I also wanted to become versed in an exercise regimen that I could still do and benefit from when I finally become pregnant. I’ve done yoga in the past but really wanted something a little more intense.
So I decided to explore Pilates. I enrolled in some private lessons at one of the leading studios in my area, which I was told were a requirement before beginning group classes so that a person can become familiar with the language of Pilates and the primary exercises. After my first session I fell in love with the practice, which is intended to strengthen and tone your body while improving posture, flexibility and co-ordination. I’ve always been a bit of a klutz so the latter was particularly appealing to me.
My trainer who instructed me for my first two classes told me about how she came to Pilates with a degenerative disease and I really enjoyed her story about how Pilates had cured all of her symptoms. She believes in it so much that she left her decades-long career to become a Pilates instructor full-time. Now, my health problems are mostly internal but that doesn’t mean that Pilates isn’t as beneficial for me as it is for the instructor and others who have benefited from this exercise for their joint, spinal and musculoskeletal issues.
- improvement of breathing, which assists with oxygenation of the blood
- increasing my ability to concentrate because one has to be very aware of the body’s movements during Pilates
- reduction of stress
- elimination of toxins
Those are just some of the benefits though. Most people do Pilates because it increases your core muscle strength, gives you better control over your body and stabilizes your spine. There are so many reasons to try Pilates. It’s also a fun workout that can be very varied. When I first started the beginner classes, we would do the same routine every time, which is great because it took me awhile to master the basic exercises like short spine massage and hundreds. I’m still getting used to the different postures and paying attention to my body’s movements. I still forget to breathe. Lately I’ve been doing a variety class that mixes up the levels of difficulty and we do something different every time I go, sometimes working with tension bands, rollers and tower equipment. Primarily, however, I use the Reformer and do most of the basic movements.
I’ve only been going to Pilates since the start of the summer but I plan to continue for the rest of my life. It is important to exercise if you care about good health, whether you have a chronic illness or not, but especially if you do (if your condition permits you, always check with a health practitioner). Not only does it feel good to get out and move your body, exercise is essential for increasing blood flow to your internal organs and strengthening your body. I always feel amazing after a Pilates session. But if Pilates is not for you, Yoga might be beneficial or your other favorite form of exercise. It’s important to get out there and sweat and work on your breathing.
What’s your favorite form of exercise?