First up…let's talk about our bodies. The minute we are born we age. We get older. You know that right?
So think about a baby…we celebrate every tiny step. Every milestone. We marvel at how they learn to walk, run and jump. How they can feed themselves and then talk. And then scream and have tantrums.
We stand by as they go off on their own and hope and pray that they can survive this crazy world and not have too many heart breaks or setbacks.
As the aging process continues and continues we grow older decade by decade.
And then at one point we realize that we can no longer jump like we used to. Or tie our shoes without thinking. Cutting our toenails becomes an effort.
We can't see to put on our makeup. SO many things happen, right?
About 8 years ago I realized that I was falling apart. I had just turned 60 and felt like I could hardly walk fast…let alone run. Jumping off anything higher than 3″ was a no no. And, cutting my own toenails was NOT happening.
I realized that if I didn't begin to use it I would lose it. I didn't want to go to a gym and lift weights or run on the treadmill. I wanted balance and flexibility. The weights (and muscles 🙂 would have to wait.
I chose Pilates.
After a lot of research I chose Pilates. You can read about the origin of Pilates right HERE. Technically all you need is a mat and some type of tutorial. I chose a studio with a Reformer. The reformer is the main piece of equipment in Pilates.
A Pilates reformer is a large piece of exercise equipment that looks similar to a padded table or platform with springs, ropes, pulleys and a sliding carriage. They can be made from different materials, including steel, aluminum, or wood.
Rachel Rothman, a certified Pilates Instructor said “The key behind the effectiveness of a reformer is resistance, with springs attached to a moving platform (a.k.a. carriage) on wheels. The springs allow for changes in resistance, and by pushing or pulling with arms or legs you can then initiate movement of the carriage along the frame to get a full-body, strength-building workout.”
During a workout with a reformer you move against the pulley system and spring tension. A reformer helps you get your body in alignment too by re-patterning your default movements.
After consistently going to class for 2 years…
…feeling better, and actually being able to cut my toenails (yay) – we moved.
And there was NO Pilates within 45 miles of where I lived. I tried Yoga. Hot Yoga in fact. And it made me tired. I tried regular Yoga and realized that I was not meant to be still for so long…those high twitching muscles of mine were just not having it.
So…I did nothing. And after 4 years of nothing I realized I was falling apart (or getting stiffer). I was more like a piece of uncooked spaghetti than a Gumby.
Thankfully we moved again. Within the first month I joined a Pilates Studio (Club Pilates). After 4 weeks of going 3 times a week I already feel a HUGE difference in my body. There is a reason that the studio slogan is ‘Pilates for Life'.
I do what I can in the class. As I feel more comfortable with the movements I am learning how to push myself more so that I can deepen the stretch or movement. The 50 minutes fly by. I don't even look at my watch to see when we will be finished.
In fact – it's a joy to go every week.
As we age…we pass the point of being a baby, toddler, teen, young adult or even older adult. We become old. And unfortunately our ‘oldness' is not tolerated very well by society. The message is that we need to always be young. Whatever you choose to do…move your body. Your future self will thank you.
I will end with this…don't take my word for it. Give Pilates a try. Or yoga. Or anything. Walking is great but walking will not help you keep your flexibility or balance. You need to use those muscles to keep it all intact.
Now, I could not go to class in jeans and t-shirts. I needed leggings, bras and tops. I went shopping and found some really cute things at Lululemon and Target. Check 'em all out!
A few items I chose for my Pilates classes –
What is Joyful Living all about?
Joyful Living is ALL about not letting let the circumstances of YOUR life determine who you really are. You learn to choose YOU instead! Not sure how to do that? Let me help!
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