Reforming My Future through Pilates
For the past 7 years I have spent the better part of my exercise routine on the treadmill, elliptical, walking outside, running, and doing some strength training to boot, but I spent very little time on my mind. I have managed to exceed my cardio and strength training exercise expectations well beyond my dreams, but the one thing I have not done in many, many years is to bend over and touch my toes or even breathe in the correct manner when exercising.
After years of following the same exercise routine, I started to get bored with my usual strength and cardio classes. I needed something new to keep my interest and enthusiasm. What started as a single Pilates class turned into a new passion for me.
I never thought Pilates was for me. I saw the videos, infomercials and classes at the gym, often full of older women in bodysuits, lying on their backs, moving their legs around in the air. It sure didn’t look hard. Where was the challenge, resistance, or weights? And it didn’t look very fun either, just lying on the floor for so long. I decided that it wasn’t for me and that was that…or so I thought.
That was until I took up Pilates 5 weeks ago. And last week I achieved what I never imagined and that was to bend over and touch my toes! 😀
I believe that every person can benefit from Pilates—men, women, athletes, couch potatoes. People of all body shapes and sizes, people of all levels of fitness and coordination. It truly does offer something for everyone.
Joseph Pilates was adamant that Pilates, or contrology as he called it, was about “the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” This is one of the secrets of Pilates exercise: we practice each movement with total attention. When we exercise in this way, the body and mind unite to bring forth the most benefit possible from each exercise. The Pilates principles — centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow — are key concepts that we use to integrate body and mind.
It might seem like a paradox, but the more you exercise, the more energy you have and the more you feel like doing (to a point, of course). Pilates gets the breath and circulation moving, stimulates the spine and muscles, and floods the body with the good feelings one gets from exercising the whole body.
Pilates improves concentration, co-ordination, balance, flexibility, posture as well as mental and physical stamina. Through using you mind to focus on breathing and movement, simultaneously your body awareness and co-ordination are enhanced.