Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pilates Thursday

Pilates is supposed to be really good for you. It's designed to elongate, strengthen and restore the body to balance.

It's also supposed to be one of the safest forms of exercise today, I guess because there's no impact on joints, nothing getting bounced about unlike running and step.

This probably goes some way to explaining the age group of my pilates class, I'm fairly confident that Rebecca and I are the youngest there, I can't imagine some of these ladies doing our step class.

So if pilates is so good for you and so safe, why is it so damn hard?

This week at least there was no swiss ball awaiting us. Oh no, the teacher had another form of torture lined up, the roll. A dense foam roll 6inches diameter, and about 36inches long that we had to lie on, fine, I can do that I thought, no problem, gotta be easier than the damn ball last week...
And yes, I could lie on it, but then we had to have our arms up over our heads, hands resting on the floor (and not trying to grip the mat Verena) as we lifted a leg, knee bent and circled it in towards our chest and back down to the floor, mmmm, a bit wobbly there, changed legs, still OKish. But then we had to rotate the arms up so that the knee was over the stomach at the same time as the arms didn't take long before there was a kind of pinging sound as my roll shot sideways from beneath my wobbling torso and rebounded off a conveniently located pillar (otherwise it would have hit the woman to my left, who had no such difficulties with her balance on a bit of foam). I did the rest of the roller exercises from the safety of the mat, studiously ignoring the foam roll - a good job too as the exercise that followed required lifting a bent leg and rotating it to the side, whilst circling the arms...much safer on the floor!

The ignominy didn't end with the roller though, oh no. After a bit more floor work we were upright and balancing on one leg, it was going up and down and then side to side...I was very tempted to hang onto the pillar next to me but instead I was advised to look up (instead of frowning in concentration at the floor) and hold some 'air cushions' instead - which makes you look as though you're driving an imaginary car (whilst balancing on one leg obviously...)

So much of pilates makes me feel like an old guy that Rebecca and I see in the woods here, most days he's at a beautiful place in the woods, where the trees part and there is a great view out and down along the river to the next village, there's a bench there (so that you can sit and enjoy said view). This old guy, appropriately dressed in a tracksuit, uses the back of the bench for isometric style exercises, he swings his legs vigorously backwards and forwards whilst holding onto the bench and then stands swinging his arms around and around in circles. Rebecca had the misfortune to come across this guy one morning whilst walking Oscar while he (man not dog) was taking a toilet least she thinks that's what he was doing, her predominant memory of the event was of being flashed by an elderly gentleman...

As I was saying, pilates makes me feel as though I'm doing isometric execises, this can't be right can it? I must be missing something...afterall Joseph Pilates is quoted as saying;

In ten lessons you'll feel the difference,
in twenty lessons you'll see the difference,
and in thirty lessons you'll have a new body

So I shall hang on in there until I'm convinced that I'm doing it right!

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