Currently, I have clients in my studio in all age groups but my eldest client is 78 years young and just happens to be my Mum, Pam.
Recently I asked her to reflect on what Pilates means to her and to describe the positive changes she has experienced since she first began her practice.
What was your first experience of Pilates?
Well, it was probably a very different experience to the usual as I was used as a guinea pig while you were completing your Pilates training at University in 2004. You taught me the basics and then practiced various new exercises and techniques on me. I suppose we were both learning together. I found the exercises interesting and I was amazed when I saw an improvement in the chronic sciatic pain I'd suffered for years.
How often do you practice Pilates?
Daily, but this wasn't always the case. Since 2004 I've made the mistake of thinking that I could take a break from Pilates because I felt great. I've since discovered that its necessary to practice as regularly as possible, especially as I age, to keep everything running smoothly. Now, I love moving so much, I really miss it if I skip a session.
Have you always been an active, sporty person?
Not at all! I was desperate to play tennis in my teens but lacked coordination and have always felt I missed out, as socially, tennis is an important game. I think too, like a lot of women in my generation our family was our priority and exercise and fitness wasn't important. I suppose there was a lack of education about the importance of maintaining our fitness. None of my friends do Pilates but I really wish they would as I know it would be a great benefit to them.
What is your favourite Pilates exercise?
I really enjoy footwork on the Reformer in the studio. Last year I had some issues with varicose veins and swelling in my legs and this exercise really helped me to get on top of it. In the Online studio, I love the Guided Relaxation Session - Releasing Negativity and Absorbing Positivity - it's so calming! Online, the Fabulous Feet series of foot exercises is perfect for me as my feet need constant strengthening. Plank is also fun and I like working on increasing the time that I can hold the position. I have too many favourites to choose just one!
What has surprised you most about Pilates?
Probably the Glutes! Firstly that I even have Glutes and secondly that keeping them strong and well connected is important for good posture and keeping my body working well. Now, I know straight away if my glutes are tight or weak and I know exactly what to do to get them back on track. Also, that I can actually do Pilates! For someone who had such poor coordination, I thought it was beyond me.
What benefits have you particularly noticed since starting Pilates?
The sciatic pain, touch wood is a thing of past, my balance and coordination have improved remarkably. I'm a bit clumsy by nature so the balance training has been so important for me. I think my posture is good for my age and that's something I'm continually focusing on. Having been able to strengthen my upper body with my own body weight as well as with weights and resistance has been great too. Gardening is my hobby and now I can garden for hours and I don't get muscle soreness, which makes me happy. This is also due to my strong glutes too. Pilates also energizes me if I'm a bit tired or have been on the computer for too long. There are many other benefits but these spring to mind first.
What are your goals for Pilates? To remain physically and mentally strong and fit for the rest of my life, so I can retain my independence and quality of life, for as long as possible. I think Pilates is the perfect way for me to achieve this.
Any advice for anyone thinking of starting Pilates?
Personally, I think everyone should do Pilates. If you don't already do Pilates, don't waste any more time and start as soon as you can. Now with your Online program, you can start right now. My only regret is that I didn't start when I was younger. Then I could have saved years of sciatic pain, and played tennis! I'm very grateful you introduced me to Pilates when you did though. To be honest, I don't want to imagine what my life would have been like without Pilates- I would honestly recommend it to everyone and especially my generation. It's never too late to start!
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