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.
Pilates has a number of benefits for a person like me, suffering from MTHFR gene mutations and hypothyroidism, such as:
- 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?
Hi Andrea, I know the importance of exercise and sweating with MTHFR, and have been doing this most of my life anyway. But can’t find any info about what to do in pregnancy. I have just had 2 miscarriages, and am fairly confident I now have the supplements and diet correct, but wonder if sweating during exercise with MTHFR is a good thing. I am now 4 weeks pregnant, and don’t want to do anything that might put the baby at risk. Thanks for your awesome blogs, I have learned so much from them and am grateful for the time you have put in to sharing this information.
Andrea Post author
Hi Angela – I was on home rest my first trimester because I had bleeding at 7 weeks. I did a lot of Pilates prior to trying to conceive, however, I didn’t pick up pregnancy Pilates until I was into my 2nd trimester – and even then, pregnancy Pilates is nowhere near as intense as the regular version. Personally I would speak to your doctor about exercise. Not sure that MTHFR has anything to do with it – it’s going to depend on your personal health circumstances around your pregnancy. I have heard that exercise during pregnancy makes things easier during birth and recovery from birth and pregnancy so I wouldn’t give it up out of fear. I was power walking and very active during my third trimester, right up until I had my baby. And we had plenty of issues along the way that might have spooked me into holding back. But my Dr said what I was doing was fine. So just keep communication open with your OB/GYN and follow what he/she tells you. Good luck – wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and congrats!
Hi Andrea, thank you so much for you quick reply. We do have 4 children, all easy pregnancies and births, and I exercised right through each pregnancy – running, stationary bike, light weights, etc, with no problems. I’m just a bit paranoid this time after the miscarriages, want to make sure I don’t do do anything that could cause another loss. I am in New Zealand, and I think there are maybe 2 doctors in the whole country that have any clue about MTHFR, and none are near us. I have had to educate myself, which is why I am so grateful for blogs and info sites like yours!