When Meg started Pilates with me back in May 2016 she was experiencing knee, back and hip pain which was interfering with her ability to enjoy life completely. Her husband Bruce had been attending my studio for many years with great results travelling from quite a distance, so when they moved closer it was the perfect opportunity for Meg to begin her Pilates journey too. Meg is a very young 68 year old with a wide variety of interests including challenging group walks, dancing, attending theatre and art exhibitions as well as travelling both within Australia and overseas.
As a hands-on grandmother of 3 young children, Meg needs to be able to care for and keep up with her grandchildren as well participate in and enjoy her activities.
Pilates has assisted her to take control of her pain and she now has the tools to manage any flare ups with home practice. Meg was a little surprised when I asked her if she would be willing to share her Pilates journey, as she didn't think her story was very significant. When I reminded her of the level of knee pain she was dealing with when we first met, it all came flooding back to her. Often when clients make a lot of progress in Pilates, they forget how far they have actually come, so let's look back at Meg's Pilates journey.
When you first started Pilates with me, your knee pain was debilitating and was the most severe of all the issues you were dealing with. What caused the knee pain and how long had you been in pain?
I started tap dancing at age 40, never having learnt dancing before. I loved it and added jazz ballet classes as well. After a few years, both knees suffered and regular visits to the physio were required, along with taping up my patellas (knee caps) and lots of ice packs. In 2010, I travelled to Peru & walked the Inca Trail despite my painful knees. Finally, the pain became too great and I had to stop. Even with my walking group I had to tape up my knees before a walk and use ice packs afterwards.
How long after you started Pilates did you notice a decrease in your level of pain?
Within months of starting Pilates the pain level decreased. Your care and attention to strengthening my VMO and glutes have given me back my life. I have returned to senior jazz classes with Sydney Dance Co & was about to recommence tap classes when COVID-19 hit. I now complete challenging bush walks without the need to tape or ice, which is wonderful.
You also had a lumbar disc bulge causing lower back pain and hip pain. Were these issues resolved too with Pilates?
Yes, my other joints - hips, shoulders and back - suffer from mild osteoarthritis in addition to the lumbar disc bulge and also from the effects of an overzealous personal trainer. Strengthening and stretching with Pilates reduces the pain considerably.
You have always been so disciplined with practicing Pilates at home. As my studio is still closed due to COVID-19 you have maintained your Pilates training with weekly 1 on 1 Skype sessions with me as well as following JS Mind Body Pilates my Online Studio. How much time do you spend on your Pilates practice each week?
I have been enjoying our weekly Skype sessions during COVID. I visit your online studio on other days and I do some of your sessions each day, depending on time available.
What are your favourite and least favourite exercises?
I have found Fabulous Feet extremely helpful for strengthening and stretching my feet and the green band shoulder stretches are great. I also love using my Swiss ball and hand & leg weights. Squats are my least favourite but I persist because they really help my whole body.
Early last year, you suddenly started experiencing bouts of dizziness and you had everything thoroughly checked medically but the cause was a mystery. Finally after many months you were able to get on top of it by eliminating certain foods from your diet. What were these foods and how did you know to try this approach?
Luckily I have been vertigo free for several months now. I have a sulphur drug allergy & I eliminated high sulphur foods as an experiment - broccoli, cauliflower, etc. I also stopped taking a prescribed drug for slightly high blood sugar, opting instead for diet modifications. I have since reintroduced the foods so the jury is still out on what was the cause of the vertigo.
Having been vertigo free for several months now is very promising! You are incredibly active for your age Meg and I know the current pandemic has curbed your travel plans this year. Now that you are able to manage any pain flare ups with Pilates, what exciting goals do you have planned or what new activities do you want to pursue in the future?
I love that my grandchildren still see me as an active participant in their more boisterous play - last week I was a horse on all fours with them taking turns riding on my back. I was a little concerned I would be sore after this, but I actually felt better than ever! I hope this can continue for years to come! I will also recommence jazz ballet & tap dancing once the COVID restrictions are eased and, of course, I can’t wait to travel once again!
It's been such a pleasure to assist you on your Pilates journey Meg and so rewarding for me to see you return to your activities that you love such as walking group and dancing. Your determination to take control of your own health and fitness through Pilates as well as getting on top of the vertigo have been truly inspiring! You have more energy and vitality than many 30 year olds and you really smash the stereotype of slowing down as you age. It's wonderful to see that you are setting yourself new challenges and goals to reach for in the future. Also, being such an active grandmother, who is able to participate in boisterous play, is creating memories that you and your grandchildren will always cherish. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your Pilates experience and I look forward to seeing your continued Pilates progress in the future!
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