After years of neglecting myself, I looked in the mirror and wondered how I could get back in shape. Everything was collapsing all at once. My body ached from inactivity; zipping my jeans required more effort.
There was a Pilates studio within walking distance of my house, and I decided to cash in on the free class offered to new clients. I remember walking in and wondering what the heck was the reformer I would be working out on. It was unlike anything I had done before in the gym. I was a long-time fan of using free weights to work out with. Using straps and pulleys looked so foreign I wondered if I would enjoy the class.
Needless to say, I loved the first class. I felt challenged immediately and left thinking I could improve my fitness if I took three to four classes a week.
I will outline seven benefits I have found from doing Pilates.
One: Balance. As we age, we lose our balance. Our body no longer sends the messages to our brain to issue motor commands. This is one reason your doctor may ask if you have fallen recently. Improving your balance is an antiaging function you want to improve on.
Two: Flexibility. Good flexibility allows you to have better posture, do everyday tasks more easily, and prevents injury. Pilates focuses on movements while stretching. I have noticed the simple task of putting on your shoes and socks requires muscle coordination and flexibility.
Three: Mental health. Study after study has shown a correlation between exercise and positive mental health. Anxiety is reduced along with symptoms of depression. Physical activity releases endorphins in our brain; endorphins give you a feel-good feeling similar to morphine. Studies have shown improved brain function after a mind/body workout like Pilates.
Four: Increased bone density. I personally was diagnosed with osteopenia, a beginning stage of osteoporosis. My primary physician suggested I do weight-bearing exercise. Pilates to the rescue! From planking to push-ups, Pilates helps your bones improve density.
Five: It can improve your sex life. Yes, I said it, sex life. Pilates tightens the muscles in the pelvic floor. Enough said!
Six: It can alleviate back pain. Pilates was initially developed as a rehabilitative tool. Joseph Pilates was a German gymnast born in 1883; he believed by strengthening the muscles of the back and abdomen would alleviate back pain.
Seven: Let's face it, you will look great from working out. You will develop awesome-looking abs, firm arms, back, and gorgeous legs.
Finally, don't you want to be the grandma who can do cartwheels? Yes, staying physically allows you to participate with the grandkids doing fun activities.
So, get off the couch and find the nearest Pilates studio!
Here's to better balance,
"If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young." Joseph Pilates