Cindy Hayden - July 2016
"I had a total knee replacement six years ago and I thought there were activities I would never be able to do again. Thanks to Pilates I am back to hiking 4000-footers, running, and snowshoeing."
I started Pilates two and a half years ago and it has changed my life. At age 56, I was beginning to feel my body aging. I do my Pilates workout, or some variation of it, 3 to 4 times per week in the summer and 5 to 6 times per week in the winter. Now, at age 58, I can say I have truly aged backwards thanks to Pilates. Generally speaking, Pilates has made my weaker muscles stronger and the more inflexible parts of my body more flexible. As a result, everybody's working together much better.
More specifically as to how Pilates has helped me: I had a total knee replacement six years ago and I thought there were activities I would never be able to do again. Thanks to Pilates I am back to hiking 4000-footers, running, snowshoeing, etc. In fact, I have now gotten to the point where I have no discomfort in my non-surgical knee when I hike and run (during or after) which, to me, is quite miraculous. Thanks to the way in which Pilates has strengthened my abs, lats, etc muscles -- I think they were totally resting for a long, long time prior to Pilates -- I am an inch taller than I used to be. Three years ago I was very round shouldered, but thanks to the Pilates program Mara developed for me, I am now quite square shouldered. I spend a lot of time in my canoe, but prior to Pilates, it had gotten so that I had constant pain in my hip while paddling. Mara recommended various strengthening and flexibility movements and now I can paddle for hours and hours pain free. Very recently I developed pain in my shoulder, which would primarily surface while I was trying to sleep. I could find no comfortable position and would lie awake for hours. I took a break for a month from various activities that I thought might be bothering it, but the pain persisted. When I finally mentioned this to Mara in class, she suggested one simple stretch (bookends). That night I slept like a baby. I did the bookends stretch every night before bed and, voila, miraculously no shoulder pain again.
Pilates has also brought back my youthful stamina. I can now do yard work, gardening, cut cordwood for hours and hours at a time without getting exhausted. I'm continuing to do my PIlates work almost every day and now I am adding to my routine bunion exercises to work on that issue. Since I spend 12 to 15 hours a day on my feet doing one activity or another, happy feet are very important to me, and they had been getting more and more unhappy. I believe between the bunion exercises and the shoe fitting, shoe stretching, and new orthotics from the pedorthist, my feet will once again be happy hiking and running.
In short, Pilates is one of the best things I have ever chosen to do with my time. Making sure I make the time to do my Pilates exercises, getting direction from Mara on the best exercises to fit my needs, focusing on doing the exercises as correctly and precisely as I can and communicating my questions, thoughts and needs to Mara to get feedback has been key -- of course, Mara is so knowledgeable, so experienced and so attuned to what my muscles are doing, even when I am oblivious, that last part is relatively easy. Go do Pilates!!! It will change your life if you make it so.