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.
I am always surprised how fast my student’s bodies start to change shape after 4 or 5 Pilates classes. For the students who do 2 Pilates classes per week, the changes after one month of training is remarkable.
Pilates = Good Posture:
The two areas of the body that seem to show a change first are the stomach and the back. 1. The abs pull in flatter. 2. The shoulders drop with less tension and both scapula flatten. When the abs and the shoulders strengthen and realign themselves, a person’s posture improves and their back is more erect. They feel and look taller. People who know them start to comment on how well they look or ask if they have lost weight. The student can see the changes on themselves in the mirror and their confidence and self esteem improves.
The next change that usually happens for a student is that the exercises they are performing, however simple, start to hurt a little more in a good way. The student is starting to understand how to command specific muscles for each exercise. They can then safely push a little harder without causing an injury and the beneficial results are noticeable weekly. For example: lower back pain is a very common complaint and usually it is a result of weak abdominal muscles. By building stronger abs and learning how to hold your torso throughout an excerise, lumbar back pains usually disappear.
The next two areas of the body that starts to firm and change shape are the gluts (bum), and the arms. For many women these 2 areas seems to take a little more time to firm and tone. For the men, they usually notice a difference right away and have a little more trouble learning how to correctly activate their abs and scapula.
Pilates alleviates pain:
Aches, pains and stiffness are the complaints I hear daily from my aging students. After 40 these symptoms creep into a person’s life, especially if they are not working to remain physically fit. I am getting more and more people, men included, who are becoming aware of what phyiscally fit is. Take for example, the man who plays hockey 3 times a week and diligently does sit-ups and push-ups every morning. He thinks he is fit. His shoulders and arms are rock hard. He admits his ham strings are stiff and that he is starting to have some lower back pain and stiffness. He thinks he is coming to Pilates classes to stretch out a little more. After one class he is shocked that some of the basic Pilates mat exercises that appear to be so simple are impossible for him to do. This happens all the time with new clients. The good news is that our hockey player has come to class, even though it was his wife who enrolled him and told him to show up at this address at X time. He immediately recognizes the work that is needed and is motivated to come to his Pilates class regularily.
Pilates mat classes and working on the Pilates Reformer will strengthen and tone a person’s over-all physique. Pain free strength and agility is the goal for all my students.
Julie Akin is the head Pilates Instructor at Synergy – Stayingfit Pilates. On 16th Ave. at the border of White Rock and Ocean Park.