When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I started Pilates about 6 years ago when I was pregnant with our first child to counterbalance the additional weight, prepare for his birth, and stretch, strengthen, and tone my body. It changed my life. Since then, I have tried to sneak in at least one weekly session in whatever city I am in.
What benefits have you seen by committing to a regular Pilates practice?
I can ALWAYS tell when I have missed a weekly session. My body feels tight and it hurts. For me, Pilates is better than massage. Due to gravity, computer and phone use, and carrying a toddler my body is often out of alignment and Pilates allows me to pinpoint those weak areas and stretch and strengthen them. I haven’t found any other exercise that enables me to do that. It helps with other areas of fitness as well; breathing, proper alignment, mind, body awareness, and core stabilization. Seeing the benefits of my Pilates practice, my professional athlete husband started incorporating Pilates into his training. We have been enjoying “Pilates dates” together in the off-season!
What were the benefits of staying active with Pilates during and after pregnancy?
I credit Pilates for allowing me to feel great during both of my pregnancies. I practiced Pilates on my due date with both boys (I delivered 2 days later with both). I tend to have long natural labors and my Pilates practice gave me the strength and endurance to power through the marathon of labor. It also helped me recover quickly from pregnancy and the labor. I was not only able to get back to my pre-pregnancy shape fairly quickly, but I was also able to heal properly. When you are feeding a newborn every 2 hours, carrying an insanely heavy diaper bag and car seat, not sleeping, and your core strength is non-existent, Pilates will save your life. Pilates is the perfect low impact exercise for during and after pregnancy. It is Physical Therapy and massage combined. For instance, when my core is weak due to pregnancy my lower back begins to hurt, so Pilates allows me to strengthen my core and stretch my back at the same time.
You are a busy mom, how do you make time to take care of yourself? When I had a toddler and a newborn, a 50 minute Pilates session was the only time I took for myself. It helped me both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I definitely struggle with taking time for myself, so I would sneak away when the baby was napping and my husband was home. Now my oldest is in kindergarten and my youngest goes to preschool, so I can go to the grocery store, Target, Starbucks, and Pilates kid-less, and it is the most amazing thing!
Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?
I actually like all the equipment for different reasons and it depends on the day and what my body is feeling. Sometimes I want a quick, effective, toning workout, so I prefer the Mat exercises and/or the Chair. But other days, after I have been traveling and my body is aching, I prefer the Cadillac and Reformer. After all these years, each exercise and equipment still is challenging to me and I am constantly making adjustments.
What would you say to other busy moms who are thinking about doing Pilates?
It will be the best decision you make for both your mind and body. You will feel great and enjoy doing it!