Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Squeezed Middle

"If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!"
   George Burns

In addition to the gym I have derived considerable benefit from attending Pilates classes.  I revisited Pilates about a year ago after a long break.  I was a little worried about how I would cope with the sessions after such a long time and also I am now much older - how would my body respond? My concerns were groundless .  It did however take me a while to attain the level I remembered but with the help and support of the instructors I found my confidence grew as little by little I made progress.

For those of you who have not taken part in this form of exercise

“Pilates is a body conditioning routine that may help build flexibility,muscle strength, and endurance in the  legs,abdominal, arms,hipsand back . It puts emphasis on spina land pelvic alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core or center, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates' system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.“ 

Pilates was described to me by an instructor who said to think of yourself as a tree which needs a strong trunk to provide support to its branches. It did go through my mind that I hoped my trunk wasn’t too thick!
We hear so much about developing your “core”  (your trunk!) and I have found Pilates addresses this need.  My posture, balance and core strength have improved significantly and additionally I am much more toned. 
I aim to take part in at least 2 sessions a week.  Attendees in my classes are all shapes and sizes and ages. The instructor always checks for any injuries or problems so that they can take account of these in the session to ensure you do not aggravate the conditions further. 
There is sometimes a little voice in my head which doubts my ability but this is overcome by being involved in a group – we are all very supportive of each other and for the more competitive ones (like me) don’t want to be the one to fail. I am pleasantly surprised how flexible I am now and the exercises I can do with relative ease. 
Any other converts out there?