Pilates is Key

May 20, 2016 3:58 pm Published by

melissaAs a lifelong athlete, I have experimented with many forms of movement and exercise from dance to TRX. I was a sprinter in high school as well as an avid snow skier, water skier, and swimmer. Currently, I enjoy Pilates, long distance running, weight training, yoga, and other various forms of solo and group workouts. However, my most loved and primary athleticism arrives in the form of dance. In fact, my professional dance career in New York City was the reason I began my Pilates practice. Only the strongest dancers incorporated Pilates into their regime and naturally, I wanted to be among the strongest. So off I went to a small Pilates studio on the upper east side after a six hour rehearsal, plus a ninety minute technique class, to put my feet into stirrups attached to springs on the Cadillac in order to work my body. Again.

Some think Pilates is not much of a workout. Well, I am here to tell you it most definitely is! However, like anything, you must put into it what you want to get out of it. I belonged to one of the best dance companies in the world where the dancers clearly thought Pilates was beneficial. Throughout my career, I always thought of Pilates as strengthening, lengthening, and basically conditioning my body. What I did not realize, was the depth of healing and proper alignment for everyday longevity and healthy function Pilates brought to the table. It took a major car accident to teach me this particular lesson.

After the accident, I turned to Pilates for healing and to rebuild my body. Conventional rehabilitation exercises were not enough, nor were they really working. Pilates was the key! Besides, Pilates just makes sense as a chosen rehabilitation form of movement for anyone needing to rehabilitate or heal from an injury of any kind. This is what Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates movement, intended. Let’s talk for a moment about Joe. In 1926, Joe immigrated to America where he and his wife established a Pilates studio in New York City where it became a hit with its rehabilitation and whole-body conditioning exercises for athletes and dancers. Joe pulled upon his experiences of being an accomplished gymnast, skier, skin diver, circus performer, and boxer. He also studied Zen meditation; rigorous exercise regimens of ancient Greeks and Romans; and self-defense movements. As you can see, the Pilates technique evolved from many forms of movement and continues to evolve today.

Although I am no longer a professional dancer, I continue to take Pilates for my health and structural longevity. While choosing to maintain, strengthen, and expand my body through practicing Pilates, I have arrived at a new stage of understanding once again. I have discovered Prenatal Pilates. Yes, I am pregnant and still taking Pilates. Suffice to say, Pilates meets all athlete’s requirements, no matter what stage of life they have found themselves. Pilates is one of the best decisions I have made in regards to lifetime fitness and health.

Melissa has been studying Pilates for over fifteen years. Now retired from a twenty year professional dance career, she is currently a published author.