The studio has an interesting collection of all ages and genders, with the oldest into their 80’s. All are positive thinking individuals who come ready to learn, progress, and in many cases heal. They bring their challenges with optimism and continue to challenge my years of expertise.
A Pilates teacher’s confession:
Last week was the first week of Pilates classes after a 3 1/2 week break. Whoa! The Christmas / New Year holiday break is the worst – too much rich food and alcohol. So many of my students, me included, who are in the 40 yr. + group had a difficult time with that first class. This year for me was definately more noticeable than in past years. I am not a big New Year’s resolution type, but I think I need to join the club.
The resolution is to exercise 10 minutes per day when you are not regularily attending classes or doing full workouts on your own. Doing something daily, or at least 5 days per week, is a must. The exercise can be a few key Pilates Mat Exercises that target the weaker muscles in your body. 10 minutes per day is all that is needed if you are wanting to maintain core strength, flexibility and some basic muscle tone. Of course more time is needed if you want to increase strength and flexibility.
I talk a lot about muscle memory and how your muscles can bounce back quickly. All my students returned to their second class noting that they were quite stiff after week one, and commented on how much better they all felt after their second class. The sad reality is that as we age our muscle memory fades just as fast it it can bounces back. Bummer. No, I’m sorry to report that a glass of red wine doesn’t help here. It means we just have to “use it or lose it.”
In all my classes I start the class with a simple mat sequence that flows for 3 minutes. Everybody is warm after the sequence. It is easy to remember and do at home. After 4 or 5 Pilates classes you start to understand where your body is deficient and know which Pilates exercises target your weaker areas. Those key exercises get added into the remaining 7 minutes of your Pilates 10 minutes per day workout. The body responds well to repetition. A ballet dancer starts every class with piles (bending the knees). In Tai Chi the same sequence is done for as ever long as you are practicing Tai Chi . So for a quick maintainance program I suggest keeping it much the same for extended periods of time.
Everybody can find 10 minutes per day. The exercises that felt like killer exercises after the holiday break become much easier and actually feel good again. Your body relaxes and your breath flows as you slowly move through your familiar sequences. This time becomes a treat and something you look forward to doing.
With all that said, how did I get so off track this holiday?
Julie Akin – Pilates Instructor at Synergy – Staying Fit Pilates in South Surrey / Ocean Park B.C.