After almost a year's absence, I returned to my Pilates class today and now I'm wondering why I stayed away. I've had the time slot open since the first week of December but in typical fashion never got around to going. I even had three classes left on my pre-paid five-class pass! The studio is a block and a half away from my house. I had no excuse.
My relationship with Pilates has been love-hate. People who have been following this Blog will have read about how I put my back out in a Pilates class way back at the beginning when I had no abdominal strength. Pilates is not necessarily for the beginner, or, if you are one you should always make the instructor aware that it is your first class. I did that but that instructor was very young and less aware of what an older person is capable of. Pilates and I broke up for a while after that and I couldn't return to it for months; until I had developed more strength, which only came through slow, gradual work with a trainer.
Now that I have lots more strength I can drop into a class any time and get through unscathed, though I still find some of the exercises challenging because they target specific muscle groups. Pilates is a very intellectual approach to exercise. It teaches you to focus on the muscles you want to engage in a particular movement an isolate them. It develops core strength which in turn provides stability and balance as well as improving posture.
Turns out it was just what the doctor ordered. I've become so tight and sore from the increased amount of running and strength training that I wanted to weep for joy at the amount of release this class gave me.
In today's class I felt my blood pulsing in my navel region after a set of abdominal exercises and a nice warm feeling radiating outward from there. That told me those muscles had been engaged. There were some stretches for the large leg muscles, the quadriceps and hamstrings that felt so good I asked the instructor to marry me! She laughed at that. She recognised me even from last Spring when I last showed up. That's the sign of a good trainer. She knows I am a runner and knew what exercises to give me. Even now, a good 40 minutes later I am feeling warmth in my thighs and a pleasant sensation in my abs. Such a great work-out! Makes me wonder why I stayed away. Never again!