Old Man Starts Exercising, Writes Blog: Part 8
If you have been following this blog then you know a few things about me. I started an exercise program after having a “come to god” moment while hiking in the mountains Mexico with my life-partner. If I were to participate in meaningful ways with her I would have to take better care of myself. I would have to participate in physical activities that, at my age and fitness level would require ongoing care and some lifestyle changes that were hither-to inconceivable.
Life has a way of sneaking up on you and in our daily habits where work and life takes up so much time we can forget to, or miss opportunities to take care of ourselves. Such was the case when, on Friday I lost complete track of time in the afternoon and missed my personal session (one-on-one) with Diane Archer of Compassionate Body Pilates.
Regular readers will also note that I have been less than punctual in practising my at-home, by-myself workout sessions. So it was an extra big bummer when I missed my Friday Session (Sorry, Diane!) Well the weekend was not a complete write-off where my fitness was concerned as my beautiful and uber-fit partner provided a chance for me to partake in “Sky-Fit” at the newly opened Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park on Ontario Street in St. Catharines.
Six months ago this would have been out of the question. I know because when the kids were growing up they played on trampolines. At the time with the kids the aerobic efforts to sustain any bounce on the mats was beyond me. I was a smoker and I was inactive and overweight. While bouncing with the kids would have been a joy, my joints, my belly and my lungs would not have permitted it.
If you are reading for a heart-warming story of redemption and glory, you may be disappointed. Given the fitness of the other participants and my partner I figure I was about 45% effective in my participation during the exercises and routines. After all it had been about 40 years since I was last on a Trampoline for any length of time and 9 weeks of Pilates training, no matter how skilled a teacher Diane is, is no miracle cure.
However, what 9 weeks of Pilates training and 4 months of non-smoking has done for me is to give me back a relationship with my body that I thought was lost to the depths of time. So feeling confident (and wanting to participate with my Partner, who was going to go with or without me) I put my hand up and joined her for a Sky-Fit Session early on Sunday morning.
Our instructor Laurie welcomed us to the session personally warning us not to push too hard, to have fun and to simply pass on exercises that were beyond our skill level.
If you have not been to Sky-Zone you do not know that it has become a favourite with the Birthday crowd and every Saturday Afternoon there is a cacophony of children squealing, music playing and general joyousness. Sunday in the AM was thankfully more subdued, so I was able to focus better on keeping my feet under me.
After the warm ups, we went from one grid of tramps to another where we worked alone and with partners springing and springing for the hour-long class.
Thanks to my Pilates training I felt strong enough to take up the challenge of the aerobic exercises and confident enough that I wouldn’t make a complete fool of myself. Given the two extra bowling balls I carry around my mid section the “L-Sits” did hurt my back a bit but otherwise I am not stiff or sore at all.
It will take a long time before I become passable on the trampoline for fitness or whatever, but I figure mixing it up a little with the Pilates and Aqua-fit, continuing as a non-smoker and hiking regularly with the girl, I will come to enjoy the free-flying feeling of the jumps and twists at Sky-Zone.
By Dan Willis
I've been doing some promotion at the Markham Farmers Market over the last 6 weeks and I have started to notice a worrying trend. There are different reasons why people might not want to come out for a free class, but one I have heard a number of times is:
"I can't exercise anymore because I hurt myself at bootcamp."
Now before everyone gets up in arms I want to be clear: I'm sure there are lots of great bootcamps and bootcamp instructors. And bootcamps can be great for lots of relatively healthy and injury-free people. What I want to talk about here is the fact that exercise should not cripple you. Period.
In each instance of hearing this, I was so desperate to say "Pilates can help you recover!" that I was in some cases chasing people around the market like a crazy person. It is so disturbing to me that a poor experience with another VERY different exercise regime has made someone believe that they can no longer exercise. How horrible is that?!?
There is something wrong with the way a lot of people view exercise, and it is made worse by bootcamp-style classes. It's the belief that you should be forcing your body to keep going through horrible pain in order to get results. That is total bullshit. THAT IS HOW YOU END UP CRIPPLED AND UNABLE TO EXERCISE! It is not how you learn to use your body effectively, or how you develop a long-term healthy exercise habit that will be with you for the rest of your life.
Now I also want to be clear about what I mean by pain. In my classes I use a scale of 1-10 to help people assess what they are feeling. If 1 is at rest and 10 is pain, there is a large range of discomfort and borderline pain in there. In order to strengthen and stretch your body progressively you need to feel that it is working- I usually suggest that a 7 or 8 is good- mild discomfort means you are working hard but not injuring yourself. Please think about this when you exercise- it can help you know when it's a good idea to stop. Or simply try a new position. Or adjust your alignment. It's the basis of developing good body awareness which can help you all the time- not just at exercise classes.
Pilates can be adjusted for every injury and every condition out there. If you are recovering from an injury please consider coming along to a class or a 1:1 with me. Pilates can help you get back into exercising safely. It can also protect you from re-injuring yourself in the future.
Have you ever been to a bootcamp? What was your experience there? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
It’s probably obvious but I love Pilates as an exercise system for everybody- whatever their current fitness level, age or experience (See Joseph above at different ages!). However, I have noticed since arriving in the GTA that most people I speak to are under the impression that Pilates is only for fitness gurus... you know, those who go to the gym all the time, run marathons, or want to add an extra bit of core strength to their existing fitness regime. Obviously Pilates can offer great benefits to those people. However, I have seen first hand how much Pilates can benefit those other regular types who may be recovering from back injuries, or who have chronic conditions such as arthritis (see my testimonials for some of these stories). It was pretty commonly accepted that Pilates could help people with these issues when I taught in the UK- even GP’s were recommending my classes.
Is Pilates as rehabilitation something you have heard of? If so, please let me know how you heard of it and if you have felt the effects firsthand!
Diane Archer, Pilates Instructor from the UK now living back in Canada. Blog of tips, thoughts, home challenges.