So I’ve been going to Pilates twice a week now since the 1st week in July and have only missed a week due to our Las Vegas trip. The classes fit well into my schedule, the studio is perfectly located halfway between work and home and I really love my instructor. All of these factors have made it easy to keep a twice a week schedule. The exercises and stretches challenge me enough that I do feel that I am getting stronger (I have been able to increase my spring tension on several exercises) and more balanced (I got rid of the stick during balance work – see pic below with the green top) while not making me dread going to class and becoming miserable halfway though a routine (like Zumba was doing for me). It is not cardio, I know, and I need to add a more active activity but for now, Pilates is the right fit. I am also not using it as part of my weight loss plan but more of just a keeping my core muscles in some sort of shape.
So what do we do in Pilates? Well, we use the Reformer machines that uses springs and a moving platform to do a myriad of exercises that work our core muscles (arms, legs, back, stomach) as well as our balance and flexibility. The exercises also help make you more limber and loosens your muscles. Pilates is not about trying to stay on beat or keep up with a class full of better coordinated people. It’s not cardio exercise nor will it really bulk your muscles up. And unlike a gym where you move from machine to machine, in Pilates you stay on one machine that is incredibly versatile and each of us can do the same exercises but at our pace at the tension appropriate for our strength. As you get stronger and more balanced you can modify the exercise (like adding a leg lift) to increase the challenge. This allows for both experienced and beginners to work out side by side without slowing anyone down or making you feel pressured to go beyond your abilities and hurt yourself. Finally, Pilates is not about lots of repetitions. Each exercise is only done 4, 6 or 10 times (depending on your level). So you can quickly move through exercises.
A few more thoughts…
- I really like that my class only has 6 machines. It keeps it intimate and my instructor can watch each of our progress and offer adjustments and corrections for each of us as needed.
- Along those lines, my instructor is really good at knowing our abilities. She asks if we had any particularly sore parts or issues and will adjust your routine accordingly. She also increases your spring tension or tells you to do more reps as she sees you make progress.
- We do core exercises each class but my instructor changes it up so we don’t do the exact same routine every week. Every few class sessions she shows us something new (at least to me) so it stops it from getting old. And as I said above, as you get stronger she adds new elements in to up the challenge for you.
- Due to the set-up, the room is dimly lit which is rather relaxing.
- This is the first exercise class where I don’t look up to see how many minutes there are left. I may glance at my watch only once if at all.
- Since it’s not cardio, you don’t work up a terrible sweat. I do walk about a bit spent and I really feel it in my muscles, but I am not miserably sore the next day.
In conclusion, I think I finally found an exercise I can see myself sticking to in the long-term!
This was my 1st attempt at doing balance work without the balance stick. The platform I am on is on springs and moves back and forth.
We use the straps to do both arm and leg work.