Heather Peterson - December 2016

Heather Peterson image.JPG

"Having MS, my balance is really bad. But I want to try paddle boarding next summer. After a Pilates session, I leave feeling good, not drained or tired and exhausted, which is crucial for my health.”


“Before starting Pilates, I felt like I couldn't find anything I liked in terms of exercising. I've tried everything, from yoga, exercise classes like PoundFit and Zumba, pretty much everything except for Pilates. After talking to a talking to a friend of mine about what my goals were going to be for the summer, I really want to do stand-up paddle boarding. But knowing that because of my MS, my balance is really bad, we talked about different exercise options. We found Pilates, thought it looked pretty cool. I had driven by a Pilates studio in NYC and I could see one of the big machines through the window. Now I know it's a Cadillac, then I just thought it was a torture device. 

I had heard that Pilates was good for your core, so when I found you I went for it. I came in for my initial assessment, and things got rolling.  I was specifically looking to improve balance and overall strength.  I like that Pilates is more focused than anything I had done before, both mentally and physically. Being a nurse, it’s really kind of interesting to know that you can actually focus on a specific muscle. Having the anatomical knowledge, I really appreciate the method. Knowing that you can actually control muscles and  how to get them to work in different exercises. I also like the less is more principle, because (whispers) I don’t like to exercise.

After a Pilates session, I leave feeling good, which is not something that I normally ever felt after working out right. After other workouts, I usually would feel drained or tired and exhausted. Chronic fatigue is a huge part of my MS symptoms. I feel like I worked out but I don't feel like I overdid it. It is important to me that I can say when I have had enough (repetitions). I’m not being pushed further. I don’t want to be labeled as lazy. I have to take good care of my body.

I have been practicing since May 2016. I started with one private session per week, then changed to twice a week and now I'm coming three times a week, for one full hour and two half hour sessions. And I’ll be moving into a By Design class in the next session, and I’ll continue with one additional private session per week.

It’s fun to learn all the different names of exercises and using all of those crazy contraptions. They are not intimidating anymore. Mara is pretty easy-going, which is nice. It’s easy to talk to her about things if something doesn't feel right, of if I have a question. If I don't understand something - because sometimes things don't click the first time -  I like that she doesn’t give me the feeling that I’m stupid for asking. 

I still have off balance days, but generally, I’m doing better. I know my core is stronger. Lying on my back, I’m able to use my core to hold my legs up in the air now. That's a big thing for me. If I have to get something from under the sink my balance is better. I don't worry about falling forward or sideways or backward. I find it easier to reach up high for something or stand on one foot.

I can’t wait to try paddle boarding in the summer, after having done Pilates for a whole year."
Mara Sievers