Have you ever put the word 'Pilates' into google images and viewed what comes up? You'll be presented with endless photos of beautiful young women doing all kinds of gymnastic and acrobatic Pilates movements which is amazing to see but that's NOT what the originator, Joseph Pilates created it for. No, he was convinced way back in the 1940's that we were moving into an increasingly stressful world and that we all needed to devote far more attention to our fitness and wellbeing no matter what our age. And let's face it, we are all going to spend a lot more time being older rather than younger! Youth is fleeting and once we get past our thirties the wear and tear of an ageing body begins to take it's toll. And that's nothing to get worried about, it's just life, so what can we do? Well, we can accept the fact we're ageing and find the best possible ways to take care of ourselves.
Pilates has many devotees from supermodels, dancers and athletes to purists who do nothing but Pilates in the classical form, and my passion is to bring Pilates to everyone - to make it inclusive rather than exclusive. No matter age, ability or stage in life, I think everyone can benefit from this incredible body conditioning routine. I've taught students as young as six and (equally young at heart) over 80 - and what is interesting to me at both ends of the life spectrum is the absolute joy these two groups share in just moving. It's the rest of us in between that seem to have the issues!
I believe in helping each and every member of my fitness community to feel valued & appreciated. You don’t have to be young and superfit to enjoy a happy, healthy lifestyle. Happiness comes from within, and exercising consistently is a key element to creating happiness. Just take a look at the wonderful women above from my ‘Easy Joint’ Pilates class who sum up that spirit. They are an absolute joy to teach and our classes are always filled with good humour, kind hearts and hard work; they really go for it! What's less obvious but encouraging for anyone reading this who thinks you cannot improve fitness past a certain age, is the progress they’ve made since they started - quite incredible, They're all stronger, fitter and more flexible than they were a year ago. I'm delighted when they tell me they can do now do things they thought they would never do again; small everyday things that make life so much more enjoyable - carrying shopping bags in both hands, or balancing on one leg to put a shoe on without having to sit down - simple pleasures.
These inspiring women turn up every week for classes, do their best and those happy smiling faces show just what they get out of it. In fact, these photos are from our send off to long term client Theresa, who’s now returned to her homeland of New Zealand. She was with me a year and I’d like to share these two messages she sent me. The first one was after her very first class:
'I was so thrilled with the class on Friday. I am always a little nervous with a new regime as I very easily over-do. But although I have sore muscles (to be expected and hoped for) I have not injured myself and am raring to go for the next one.
Thank you so much.
I am feeling excited at having found something that will serve my purposes for a long time.'
And this message came with the photo above by email after she had returned home to New Zealand a year later after attending class twice a week.
‘Thanks so much Rachel for your care and attention with the classes. I have loved it all. I can say with certainty, there is no-one like you!'
So take heart from Theresa. Keep your sense of adventure, believe in the importance of your wellbeing both mentally and physically and be sure to devote attention to keeping your health and fitness at the forefront of your mind as you age.
It's a long road so make it a healthy, happy one.
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