So first things first: I am not an exercise fanatic. You will not find me at the local gym 5x a week, churning out cardio, lifting a multitude of weights or pushing the squats (as much as I fantasize about regaining my 30-year old backside, reality is…). That said, I’m “into” the Pilates Chair; specifically, the Pilates Chair Quartet class I’ve been taking at Body Fundamentals here in Tucson.
It started with exploring an alternative to the monotony of guilting myself into a gym workout a couple of times each week with limited results. I’m a marketing writer, which means a lot of sitting in front of a computer. Not conducive to fitness or flexibility. I’d done some Pilates in Seattle several years before and knew I’d enjoyed the variety and the class camaraderie. Over coffee one day, Geneviève suggested I try the Beginning class she’d recently developed and launched at the studio.
After only a few sessions, I remembered why I’d enjoyed Pilates so much. I felt so good after each session. Because there are only 4 of us in the class, Stevie (the instructor) could easily correct our form or suggest alternative moves to accommodate a bad knee or ankle, back injury or the like. Within weeks, I could see the definition in my arms, my hips were narrowing (!) and I was feeling more optimistic about anti-gravity effects than I had in years!
I’ve since moved to the Beginning / Continuing class for more challenging, faster paced work on the Wunda Chair (Intermediate is really fast and more suitable for those who are teacher level). I’m challenged in each class because every workout is different. Each movement and progression hits different areas, so you can’t “zone out” but need to remain very “in the moment” to complete successfully. That’s a great benefit of Pilates too, it makes me slow down and focus. I can’t think about what’s next on my to-do list or project deadlines. I have to breathe and pay attention in order to move properly.
I’ve committed to a weekly Beginning / Continuing Pilates Chair Quartet class and recently added a semi-private Pilates session to the mix. The visible results include a narrowing waist, more defined arms, and tighter glutes. Plus, I’m more flexible and have better posture. My most exciting achievement to-date? The Pike! I think of it as kind of an inverted push up. Very challenging, I feel really strong each time the bar rises a little higher.
Yes, I still (try) to work in straight-up cardio a few times a week with either a round on the elliptical, a walk or a bike ride, too, but Pilates has become my gift to myself, my health… and my anti-gravity efforts!
Nora Haile runs her own marketing writing and communications support firm, nhaile communications, providing writing and online marketing support services to small to mid-sized businesses in Arizona and the Pacific Northwest.