About three years or so ago, I had just been through multiple back surgeries, multiple foot surgeries, and multiple hand surgeries. Additionally, I was told that I would eventually have to have rotator cuff surgery which I finally had done twice this past year. After all the surgeries, I was in almost constant pain and it hurt to get up in the morning, and it hurt to move. I had given up the water aerobics classes I had previously enjoyed, and was pretty much of the attitude that I could no longer exercise. To top it all off, I had gained a bunch of weight (I won’t tell you how much!) and didn’t feel good about my appearance.
At about this time, my husband, Phil, signed up for a series of private Pilates lessons with Carey and came back from his first lesson all enthused about how Pilates might be just the ticket for me. Eventually, Phil talked me into coming to observe one of his Pilates lessons so I could see what it was all about and decide for myself whether I might be able to do it. To my surprise, it looked do-able, even for me. So I signed up for private Pilates lessons with Carey and have been working with her off and on ever since—the off times being the periods when I’ve had to go back in for more surgery and undergo rehabilitation before resuming Pilates. As of this time, I take a private lesson from Carey once a week. Private lessons with Carey work really well for me because Carey is able to help scale the Pilates exercises to exactly my ability level. Right now, this one-on-one with Carey is, I believe, necessary for my continued progress, but I hope and expect to be able to participate in group classes eventually.
I’ve really noticed some huge benefits to Pilates. First, before starting Pilates, movement of almost any kind was painful, and I had really become very inflexible due to my back surgeries. Now, and I attribute this almost entirely to Pilates, I’m able to move more fluidly and with much less pain than before. Pilates also helps greatly with “range of motion” issues. Second, before Pilates, my attitude towards most physical activity had become: “I can’t do that.” Pilates has changed my attitude towards the same kinds of physical activities into: “Not yet, but I can eventually.”
Best of all, I’ve managed to lose about 60 pounds of excess weight this past year. What’s kind of surprising to me in retrospect about it is the following. You may remember that I said I had two rotat0r cuff surgeries this past year. Now this, in my experience, is a difficult surgery with a difficult recovery period. And the reason I had two surgeries is that after I had the first one and had just about completed my re-hab, I slipped and fell and tore the rotator cuff all over again. When that happened, I remember thinking, even as I was still down from the fall, that I was not going to let that derail my weight loss program—and it didn’t. I truly think the positive thinking I’ve picked up from Pilates was key.
My favorite piece of Pilates equipment is the reformer/tower combination. I love the way this piece of equipment makes virtually every exercise completely scale-able so that it can be scaled down to be doable by the elderly and infirm or, conversely, scaled up to be a challenge to even the young, physically fit beach-bodies among us.