Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Hardly a new fad, Pilates has been known to the dance crowd since, well, forever. The founder, Josef Pilates, found in injured dancers and athletes his inspiration for the optimal posture alignment and muscle training exercises you'll find in studios and health clubs all over the damn place.

Back in 1988, when my spectacular onstage injury ended my dance superstar dreams, both the orthopedic surgeon I visited and my favorite dance teacher recommended Pilates. Known for increasing core strength (today's hottest workout buzzwords!), Pilates also does wonders for flexibility and total body conditioning. In no other fitness class will you be so focused on your breathing and the correctness of your form. After this class, and no other, you will feel muscles long tucked-away and dormant spring to life, causing you to feel convinced you can accomplish a round-off back handspring. You actually can't though, so just enjoy the feeling peacefully.

If someone tells you Pilates is a great way to lose weight, give them a swift kick. How dare they lie to you so flagrantly! If you aren't mostly in shape already, Pilates will probably frustrate you into never repeating the effort of dragging yourself to the studio. Here's the benchmark: If you, laying flat on your back with your arms overhead, can pull yourself up to a sitting position and then over to touch your toes, without dropping your arms, you're good to go for Pilates.

Something I'm verging on not being. The instructor, who nodded approvingly at me through most of the class, had to come over and hold my feet down. Yes, I did want to shrivel up and die, thanks for asking. Luckily, I wasn't the only flailing pudgesicle in the class, so there was no overt mocking. I just carried on and averted my gaze from my mirrored reflection.

Thankfully, the instructor didn't ask--as so many have recently--"Are you pregnant?". Weirdly, they tend to look skeptical when I tell them I have a chronic illness and that I'm recovering from a knee re-injury. Oh, well, shutting them up is more motivation for me to get back in shape.

I still am not used to all these fitness instructors sounding like extras from "Saturday Night Fever". Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Blogger LisaBinDaCity said...

Is there a disco ball and flashing lights too?

*insert smirk*

11:15 AM  

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