No matter what physical limitations you might have, Pilates is adaptable – not only possible, safe and beneficial, but truly enjoyable as well.
As with all exercises, there are many levels of challenge in the movements. You can work at your own pace and comfort level, but wouldn’t it also be nice if you were ready for anything?
There are things you can do – either as preparation for adding Pilates to your life, or as preparation before each class – that will ensure a more successful workout.
1. Stretch it Out
Stretching is the intentional elongation of a particular muscle group.
Pilates, by definition, involves a lot of stretching. Still, the more limber you are even before class starts, and the more warmed up your muscular-skeletal system is, the faster your body will get into the flow of movement.
Before you stretch, move a little. Take a walk, do some dishes, rotate your arms a bit, climb some stairs. Just for 10 minutes or so, to get the blood flowing.
Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. Stretching shouldn’t be painful, but the tight, sore areas usually need a good stretch the most, maybe even a double set. Just keep it gentle and don’t bounce or push too far.
2. Do Some Mental Workouts
One of the biggest preparations for any form of exercise is a mental one. But most of us focus on the specific exercises, and not on emotional prepping. Being mentally prepared can make all the difference.
3. Be Flexible
Flexibility is not only for the body. It’s also for the mind. Perfectionists often give up if they can’t do an exercise the way it “should” be done, or as well as others do it. Aim for your own personal best, and be ready to adjust any exercise to your own needs and limitations.
4. Get Psyched
Keep the benefits of Pilates on your mind, and get excited about the outcomes, both short and long term. Close your eyes and imagine how great you will feel that you’ve accomplished what you set out to do today. Think about how nice it is to feel more limber and stretched out. Then consider the rewards of a stronger core, better posture and a fit, toned body. And last but certainly not least, think about the health benefits, and the joys of having more energy.
5. Use The 10-minute Rule
Tell yourself that you will make it to class and get through 10 minutes, at least. Then, if you are really too tired, you’ll allow yourself to stop. This may seem counterintuitive, but it works like a charm.
Often times, just thinking about the length of a workout pushes people into anxiety mode. But few people are afraid to commit to just 10 minutes. Once there, though, hardly anyone does quit that early. If you do, you must really need the break, but you’ll have the benefit of 10 minutes of exercise, vs. zero, and just as importantly, you will be keeping your routine and good habit going, which is invaluable!