We don’t just age and stop moving; we stop moving, then we age. Think about that… !
I am often asked by people whether they are too old to start Pilates. I understand why….. the Pilates online world is full of mostly super fit-looking teachers posting videos of themselves doing what can look quite extreme on strange pieces of equipment. I do this the odd time myself, but mostly aim to keep things real in my social media. Come as you are.
When I do pose for a showy-off photo – like the one here – I am not aiming to show off; rather it’s because I am amazed at what my body can do for me. I believe my body is stronger and more flexible now in my late 50s than I was in my late 30s. I used to hate my arms at that time; now I even sometimes admire the shape of my arm muscles. I walk and cycle a fair bit, I do a good bit of gardening, but Pilates is my main exercise.
I was never a dancer or gymnast; I am your typical Pilates teacher who came to this movement method after experiencing low back pain at a time when I was sitting for long periods at a computer.
Whether it’s matwork or studio-equipment based, Pilates is perfect for our changing bodies. The menopause transition is the perfect time to start or maintain Pilates. Everyone starts at a different place but there is a way for everyone to benefit. It’s so adaptable; it can always be modified to meet your needs. Pilates is about finding comfort and balance in your own body; less groaning as you get up and down or wincing when you reach for something.
That’s not to say I don’t ever experience aches and pains… I do! Feeling stiff – especially first thing in the morning – is somewhat inevitable as you get older. But I hate to think how much worse I’d feel if I had let my body get out of condition.
The stiffness that accompanies getting older (osteoarthritis) can be eased greatly by moving and stretching, staying hydrated, hormone supplements (HRT – more on that later) and checking you are not deficient in vital minerals. This applies to other conditions that cause stiffness – such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis – but these tricky conditions benefit additionally from heat (infrared sauna or bath).
Pilates offers loads of mat-based exercises that can be done at any age at home, as you to through peri-menopause and into full menopause (my online library could work for you?)
Pilates is about:
- Mobilising and release practice – yes, stretching !
- Strength and resistance work – yes that too.
- Bone loading
- Core stability and strength
- Breath focus and mindful movement
- Pelvic floor awareness
- Body awareness
- Relaxation and nurturing
- Understanding how your body moves and giving it that range of movement practice
- Co-ordination and balance
- Cardio (yes indeed – do it faster!)
- Community and chats