About 6 months ago I took up Pilates. After the initial awkwardness and soreness of starting a new kind of exercise, I began going to class every week. I got into the swing of things and started to really enjoy it. It became part of my routine. Every Thursday, 6 PM, off to Pilates! Recently, however, life got a bit hectic, as it does from time to time. With lots of other exciting things going on in my life, I wasn’t able to go for a few weeks in a row. This last Thursday I was able to attend class again and it is amazing how much can change in just three weeks.
For those who are not familiar with it, Pilates is a form of exercise based around controlled movements. It can improve flexibility, strength, balance and endurance. When practicing Pilates, you move your body through precise ranges of motion, targeting specific areas (core, legs, etc.) at a time. It is fantastic for posture and can be an aerobic and non-aerobic form of exercise. This is one of the reasons why it is so wonderfully versatile and can be suitable for everyone. The exercises in Pilates can be customized in difficulty and intensity, making them achievable for anyone. From beginner to advanced, and at almost any age, Pilates can be a not-so-intimidating alternative to, for example, the gym.
This is one of the main reasons I decided to try it – gyms intimidate me. With all those complicated looking machines and intense looking workouts, the gym just wasn’t right for me. The gym can be a great environment for some, it just doesn’t work for me. Pilates, however was fantastic! It works all the different areas of my body while giving it a good stretch and I always feel energized after a class. I started going with one of my friends, plus there are a few other people that I know in the class and the teacher is very friendly and supportive, so there is also a social aspect to it. I get to see my friend a little more often (even if we do spend most of our time together in class grunting and laughing when we lose our balance) while giving my body the kind of movement that it needs.
Not going for three weeks meant that I didn’t get to see my friends in class and have a bit of light hearted fun. It also meant that my body wasn’t getting enough of the kind of exercise that it needs. Going back last Thursday I felt happy and excited as soon as I stepped through the door and was warmly greeted by the teacher (who teased me for not coming for three weeks but was really glad I came back). I loved having a giggle with my friend during class and a chat after. And my body loved being challenged in that specific Pilates way. Even though my legs were killing me the next day due to doing exercise they had gotten used to not doing, I felt good. It was a satisfying kind of pain that reminded me that I had done something good for my body the night before. It can be challenging to get back into a routine once you fall out of it, but if it’s something that’s good for your body and your mind, the effort is definitely worth it!
Have you ever tried Pilates? Did you enjoy it? Maybe the gym is more your thing? Let us know in the comments!
By Katarina Smythe