Are you one of these people?
- "I have a bad back, it twinges and niggles and I constantly find myself shifting around to get comfortable when sitting"
- " I'm worried about being active or starting fitness programmes because I don't want to do more harm to your body and I might not be very good at it"
- " Ever since lockdown I have seized up and slowed down, it's hard to get moving again now"
If you can relate to one or more of these statements, then the following post might make you feel a bit better about knowing where to start to make positive changes to your daily routine.
Start slow and steady - Pilates is a form of exercise that can help with hundreds of ailments, from a 'bad back' to lack of shoulder mobility. From bad sleep patterns to lack of balance. As with everything you need to start at a level that works for you and your body, find a teacher who will provide modifications and who can help you to work within your own capabilities. The beauty of Pilates is that there are modifications that can be made to almost all exercises, enabling you to still gain the benefits, whilst building your confidence and strength. As a result, you will see and feel your progress from week to week.
Find a routine that works and practise regularly - as life has forced us into a more sedentary or slower pace over the past six weeks and the weather means we find ourselves inside more than we'd like, it's important you find some regular exercises that can keep you mobile and can be achieved without feeling overwhelming. This is key as it means you have a greater chance of sticking with the new routine. A simple series of stretching and mobilising taught in Pilates can easily be incorporated into your daily life easily. Take five minutes when you wake up in the morning and you can work on foot and ankle mobilisation and spinal mobility before you even have your first cup of tea. Talking of tea, why not practise balancing on one leg whilst the kettle boils? Sound too simple? Well by focusing on correct pelvic position and alignment, you can really start to see the benefits for overall posture, balance and muscle strength in these small movements performed regularly. Small, regular, controlled movements added to your day will bring big benefits to your physical and mental wellbeing.
Access help and support through regular classes or one to ones - By committing to a class that's the right level for you, you can ensure a weekly focus on your physical goals. The benefits to your mental health will come hand in hand with your physical growth as you start to improve your strength, flexibility, tone and balance. Relieving daily niggles or aches form your life will feel like a weight has been lifted, enabling you to work taller and feel lighter.
Working with a teacher who offers 1-2-1's prior to booking a class will enable you to build some confidence ahead of a class environment. This gives you a good understanding of the pilates foundations (fundamentals) from which to build your practice. Identify your goals and stick with them. If you find parts of the class too hard, sit them out, but don't give up. Each week you attend you will become aware of your body changing and you will be able to achieve a little more each time you try.
Why choose Pilates?
Ultimately pilates is a fantastic tool to help condition the body and provide a solid foundation for your daily life or pursuit of additional fitness activities. Helping prevent injury, increase mobility and adding an understanding of your body that enables to move more efficiently and with ease.
It's no great surprise to me that many Pilates instructors and enthusiasts found their love for the exercise having been injured or ill and rehabbing themselves with the help of physio and regular pilates practice. Pilates is extremely versatile and can be suitable for absolutely everybody.
What to do next?
Identify what you want from your practice.
Search for an instructor whose right for you, check their credentials, if you're looking for a physio based practise or perhaps something more classical you need to know you will get what you need from the class you choose. Take time to ask the questions you need answering.
Talk with the instructor about your goals, worries, aches and pains (because they will love nothing more than being able to help) and they can then be mindful in class or in your one to ones of identifying how the exercises will help you specifically.
Take the leap - there is no such thing as being 'bad' at Pilates, just be open to listening and learning.
No one is watching you - believe me, everyone is so focused on what they need to do, no one has time to look around and see whether you're doing it 'right' or not!
Now all you need is to sign up and start enjoying the rewards.