The Top Six Reasons to do Pilates Mat for 20 More Years
by Kara Wily on Tue, Oct 02, 2012
Of late I have been trying to spread the word of how important I think daily workouts are. They do not always need to be hard strenuous workouts—although I like a few of those a week. But to get a good sweat on for thirty minutes or to do a nice long stretch for 20-40 minutes sometimes hits the nail right on the head. So of course I want to be a person who practices what I preach. And I think I finally even sold the idea to myself because the benefits just sound so great.
And oh yeah, this year I celebrate twenty years of doing Pilates. I started at 19 years old after a ski accident. I officially have been doing Pilates longer than I haven’t and that will never change. Here’s why:
It’s All In There-
The Pilates mat work can be every workout to every person. If you are just starting out you can do a beginner workout and gain great abdominal strength, tighten your bottom and shape your legs and get it done in less than thirty minutes per day. Runners can stretch their backs and legs and get some rotation in their hips. A Pilates or Yoga practitioner can challenge their technique by working deeper, longer and with a goal of flowing from one exercise to the next with complete control. You get a chance to front bend, side bend, split up side down and even add some clapping to your push ups if you need it!
I feel like drawing my stomach in-and-up to the extent that I can, is at times intimate and sometimes a little confrontational. Is that a strange remark? Do you shudder when people touch your stomach? What about squeeze you around the waist? Or grab it for a dance? There have been times when I did not like this feeling . There are still times of the month that, — no matter what I do, it is just harder to support my center. Sometimes I have little conversations with myself on Spine Stretch—“Why won’t you go in more?” “Are you holding out on me?” Sometimes I get replies, “Can you just be happy with that today?” Hum.
‘Tis a Gift to Be Simple-
At times when I am training people I will stop and demonstrate what I see them doing and explain that if I needed to put that sequence of movements into words, I would never be able to actually teach people what I want them to do. It’s complicated. It is far more challenging to be simple in one’s motions. It was one of the most eye-opening and refreshing things I learned when I went to New York to learn Pilates. For Single Leg Stretch, the directions were “pull your knee to your nose”. That’s it. I add “ then push your calf into your hands”. And only when my abdomen is pulling in and up from the very top to the very bottom, my neck is stretches, and my shoulders relax, can I do it—but all of that did not have to be announced. This clarity of purpose is a challenge in movement.
The Long Haul-
I teach a 91-year-old man who can do the Hundred (better than a lot of forty- somethings I teach). He does Rolling. He can do five Roll Ups and he calls me on it when we don’t do all five. And that is not all. Over the past two years, he has improved! He could not do Saw when we started and now he can. He could not push up from the floor for Swan when we started, and now he can. This is a great example of what Pilates can be at any age. Age and fitness cannot be excuses, they are just variables that Pilates can work with very well. And as Diahann Carroll says, The legs are the last to go!
A Moving Experience-
I like to be on the go. That means I am a constantly moving mom at home, doing laundry, dishes, helping with bath time, homework, going to the YMCA. It also means I love to travel and if you suggest we go somewhere– my only answer is, when? I still have aspirations. I suspect that I will be this way forever. The mat work moves with you too. If I don’t get a workout in during the day at the studio, I can slip it in at night or in the wee morning hours. On Saturdays I can do a great workout of a short run, some jump rope and a full mat. It leaves me dripping with sweat and feeling strong and free.
Survival of the Fittest-
Adaptability = Ability to Survive. This all relies on our ability to adapt to the set of circumstances that we are dealt each day. We use this ability physically in Pilates training. When my left shoulder is feeling weak, I need to stabilize my right side more. When my left knee is tight I need to stretch that heel more. I absolutely know that when I workout consistently I am more efficient with my body and my mind.
Pilate Body Mechanics offers a Pilates mat class at Tone Fitness and Temple Fitness in Medicine Hat, Alberta. To reserve your spot complete the sign up sheet at one of these locations or visit. Private and duet classical Pilates training using equipment is offered at Openspace Pilates click the link to book your appointment. For more information visit www.pilatebodymechanics.com.