When did you start practicing Pilates?
I began practicing Pilates about 14 years ago when I attended classes taught by River City’s own Shannon Ottoson at the North Liberty Rec Center! I am a physical therapist and found the combination of stretching, core strengthening and emphasis on breath and alignment complimentary to the principles I use when working with patients with all types of musculoskeletal problems.
How often do you practice Pilates and what type of classes and sessions do you enjoy? I currently practice Pilates about 3 times a week. I like the Intermediate Mat Flow class and the Big Ball class (and not just because my daughter, Kathryn teaches them!). These classes provide an extra challenge for me as I strive to become stronger and more flexible.
I love the foam roller class as I find the stretching very helpful for my lower back and neck. I have also taken private sessions with Carey as I rehabbed from a back injury. These sessions were invaluable to help me regain mobility, strength and confidence to resume mat classes. I have taken 2 of the virtual workshops Carey has offered which go into greater depth. I love the analysis of movement and the modifications we can make with the exercises, allowing them to be accessible for everyone.
How has Pilates helped you in your life?
Pilates has helped me to maintain an active lifestyle including hiking and gardening. I find the exercises helpful to maintain my flexibility and strength. My lower back feels best when I am consistent with my practice. I also feel more centered and less stressed at the end of each class.
How have the virtual classes helped you during the pandemic?
The virtual classes have provided a great predictable routine. As we know, not much else is predictable these days! I have actually been more consistent with my participation since classes went virtual due to the ease of exercising in my own home. I certainly miss seeing the instructors and participants in person, but it has helped me feel connected to others with similar goals of staying active.
What would you say to someone who was thinking about starting Pilates?
I would encourage everyone to give Pilates a try. It is a form of exercise that almost everyone can do, no matter your fitness level or age. The exercises can be modified for those with health concerns including neck, back, shoulder and hip pain. It has helped me live my mantra…keep moving!