This is the story about how Pilates changed my life. If you are feeling at the mercy of your body, and want to feel strong, fit and healthy – take a read!
Confessions from an exercise hater!
I grew up active, and a lover of the outdoors. It may have had something to do with the fact that my mum never let us play inside – even on rainy days we were given a raincoat and shown the front door. (Now that I’m a mum myself…I totally get this!) The funny thing is, I was never a lover of exercise for it’s own sake.
I still find it ironic that I now run a Pilates studio, and am such a strong advocate for exercise. Running and I were never friends and working out just for the sake of working out just seemed like a pointless energy expender. It just shows you how change is possible for anyone! Even though I never chased the ‘burn’, I did love being fit for things like snowboarding, hiking, sports and adventure pursuits. It had to be getting me somewhere, or achieving some other goal.
Back Injury Ahead!
Adult life had me working at a desk for hours and that was when I had my first back injury. I was snowboarding, took a bad bump, and then followed that up with a 4 hour long car ride home. By the time I arrived I could hardly stand, and definitely wasn’t straight. But I got some great advise and started a rehab plan and of course recovery happened over time. But my desk job never agreed with me. I tend to get hyper focused, so I would tend to sit curled up like a pretzel, ignoring the niggles and signs that my body wanted to move in favour of getting the job done. Surely, feeling better couldn’t just be a matter of moving? It seems too simple!
So that was me for a few years, some pretty intense work at a desk, walking and inconsistent gym to balance it out, a bit of travel, lots of fun thrown in between, and some back injuries that were pretty frustrating. Frustrating because I was young and fit and active! Why was this happening to me?
It was after having kids and a few nasty episodes of back pain, that my ability to manage it seemed to be struggling. My body felt like an imposter after giving birth to a really big second baby. I felt weak, fragile and not up to doing anything robust.
Exercise felt hard, I just didn’t have a routine I liked, let alone wanted to do after being up all night with small children. I tried running (hello my old nemesis), the gym, group fitness classes, but everything seemed to leave me feeling depleted. I couldn’t keep it up long enough to make a difference. All I wanted was to feel fit, healthy and have more energy!
Pilates makes a difference!
I still remember my first Pilates class at my local gym. It was an hour long, but went so fast. I remember leaving the class feeling physically and mentally refreshed. Was this exercise? It was like nothing I had encountered!
My mental to-do list vanished while in class. I walked out feeling taller, energized and wanting more! My body felt good, like I had given it something I didn’t even know it needed. There were tight spots, parts that were hard, things I couldn’t do that well, but on the whole I felt successful, stoked with myself, and worked out in a way that I seemed to have more energy not less. I couldn’t wait to book my next class.
Fast forward 6 weeks or so and I was feeling a lot better. A lot of my aches and pains disappeared. Pilates was giving me information about my body I could use on a daily basis. I didn’t feel so stuck, and that I could get up and move in ways that felt good. My practise was consistent in that early stage, and my energy came back. The more I did, the better I felt. I fell in love with the Pilates, and with how it made me feel.
Lessons about Pilates as Self Care
Human nature eventually interrupted my awesome routine. I stopped. I got busy, and like so many people, my regular exercise, and self care was the first thing to fall off my plate. Nothing changed at first. I was busy being busy! I didn’t have time for back pain. Until it started coming back. So once again I started Pilates, and once again I started to feel better.
I’d like to say I was really smart. But I was super slow, and someone who had some big lessons to learn about the priority of looking after myself. The old start, stop routine happened quite a few times, as I would feel better and allow busyness to get to important. It was after a really bad back flare up that I realised this is not something I can stop, and Pilates became a part of my life full time.
Back pain isn’t just a structural problem – many things can impact it like stress, poor sleep, fear, worry, lack of movement and many more factors. What I grew to realise is that I needed to look after some of these factors in order to be able function and feel good. Now I do Pilates daily, sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little. Feeling fit, and moving well for life isn’t a destination, it’s a journey, and Pilates has changed mine for the better.
Feeling fit and healthy and able to do what you love!
Pilates helps me create space for myself. It reduces my stress, makes me happy, strong and powerful. I can move in a way that makes my body feel good and restores my energy. Injury doesn’t put me off moving, as I know that I can adjust my Pilates practise to what I need on the day. The strength and flexibility gives me bad-ass mobility skills that I continue to see increase over time! It’s so cool to see yourself getting better as you practise. Thanks to Pilates I know I’ll be able to play on the floor with my grand kids and be active and present in their lives – and that makes me excited.
Pilates literally changed my life…and it can change yours too! If you are struggling with back pain, suffering from low energy, find yourself injured all the time, feel weak, and worry about how your movement ability declining as you age – then I encourage you to try Pilates. Don’t stay stuck – because feeling fit, energized, healthy, active and strong is there for the taking!
We know how you feel, because we have been there. We’ll guide you, help you start gently and build your fitness and Pilates skills over time. Starting is the best thing you will ever do!