Audrey – 10 Minute Pilates DVD
I love Pilates. I discovered it a few years ago when back pain was making my life hell and it helped so much. I like the focused, precise movements. I like the fact that I carry those movements outside of the Pilates studio and into my everyday life in between sessions. When I do Pilates regularly, I stand straighter, I move with intention and I am more mindful when I lift, bend and lug stuff, less likely to hurt myself. I like it because I can see my progress clearly. The more I do it the easier it gets and the better I am at it. I’m a bit competitive with myself like that. I like a sport where I can see a discernible improvement quite quickly.
Having said that, I’d rather do no Pilates than Pilates with a teacher I don’t like. It’s funny with Pilates – it’s like Yoga, it’s not going to work for me if I don’t connect with the teaching style. Right now, I can’t attend any of the classes held by my three favourite Pilates teachers. One has moved to Australia, one to Brighton and one runs a class at 7pm on a Friday which is a tricky one with kids. I have tried a couple of classes here and there that I can make but really I didn’t really enjoy any of them.
So I bought myself this DVD thinking it could be a good one for this challenge. It sat on my desk for ages, waiting for me to try it out. I struggled a bit with the diety tones on the cover. I don’t really care about having a ‘sleek midsection’, I don’t want to ‘tone and re-shape’ my ‘trouble spots’ because I don’t have any and I really find the idea of doing Pilates to get ‘sexy shoulders’ (sexy shoulders?!? – what does that look like?) and ‘sculpted arms’ quite off putting. So I kept on picking it up, considering doing it, reading the blurb and then putting it back down again with a ‘maybe tomorrow’ shrug.
On the plus side, I liked the fact that it was in 10 minute segments. I can do 10 minutes.
So, on to the experience itself.
Battle with Gremlin: I don’t want to do this, I don’t have time. It’s too cold in the living room. Maybe tomorrow. I reminded myself it was just for 10 minutes and that Id’ probably feel better afterwards. I switched the heating on and I gently made myself put the DVD into the machine.
I opted for the 10 minute session called Pilates for Flexibility because none of the other sessions appealed: Pilates for Buns & Thighs, Sculpting Pilates, Pilates Burn, Pilates for Abs – I can’t relate to moving my body in that way. I found it a challenge at the beginning to watch the video and follow the instructions at the same time but that’s the same with any new class. Once I’ve done this bit 3 times I’ll know the basic routine and I can focus on listening to the teacher’s instructions and on the movement itself rather than scrabbling to catch up and losing half of what she says in the process.
The exercises really did stretch me out and I could feel the benefits of taking even 10 minutes like this immediately. Everything softened, all my limbs felt longer, I wasn’t cold anymore, I felt more alive. Surprisingly the 10 minutes flew by and I was a bit disappointed when the time was up, not enough that I carried on though.
The best thing to come out of this week’s challenge is awareness. Those 10 minutes really focused me on what needs attention. I noticed that all the muscles down the right side of my neck were really sore and that the glutes in my right buttock were contracted and stiff – probably due to the way I hold my body because of the neck. Since I did the session a few days ago I am much more tuned in to Bodytalk and have been holding my body differently. I pause to straighten my neck and realign my spine much more often throughout the day and I’ve noticed that I use my core muscles a lot too. Just yesterday as I was going up the stepladder to reach a high shelf I realised I was tightening my core muscles very slightly which meant I was more in control of my movements.
So in conclusion…
I appreciate myself for doing this and finally using the DVD. I doubt I will do so regularly although I suppose it’s an OK option for those times when 10 minutes is really all I have and I can’t think of anything else to do or when I want to remind myself of the very thing that I love about Pilates which is it’s carry over effect into the rest of my life.
A good start to the Move Challenge. How have you been doing?
Sophie – An unusual power walk
I walked 11,528 steps today. And all in the service of Christmas shopping! I walked to the tube and up and down the escalators. I took the stairs whenever possible and walked all over the West End, from Covent Garden to Knitsbridge, from Soho to Marble Arch, despite the rain and the wind, despite the people and the cold. A day out in London is definitely a good day’s moving. I have an App (called PACER) on my phone which tells me how many steps I’ve walked. There is a popular belief that 10,000 steps a day is the desired goal for health and fitness. I’ve done some searching and I can’t find any credible or definitive study which claims that this figure is accurate or even helpful. So, I am not aiming for any particular number of steps. I find the pedometer useful for showing me the difference between an active day and a less active day and it helps me to play with ways to be more active. There seems little doubt that being more active is better for me than being less active and I know that’s true for me from my own experience. I feel better when I move more, and that’s good enough for me.
And here’s the difference between how I use a pedometer today and how I might have done in my pre-BC days. One setting on the pedometer tells me how many calories I have burned that day. Once upon a time, on seeing that I had managed to use up several hundred calories by walking around town, my gremlin would have seized the opportunity to whisper that I could treat myself to a pack of crisps or a bar of chocolate on the way home. I’d earned it after all. I would have given in and then, feeling guilty and bad about my lack of willpower and seeing the day as spoiled, I would most likely have continued to overeat all day. Today I found the setting which allowed me to hide that information. I’m not even interested. I really enjoyed walking all around London doing my Christmas shopping. I enjoyed taking my time, meeting up with Audrey for a sandwich at lunch time (we were both in town at the same time and only found out by chance!), seeing how fast I could climb up the tube escalators and counting all 193 steps at Covent Garden tube station. I enjoyed myself, all the while contributing to my overall health and wellbeing and that’s my aim.
My week 1 MOVE challenge was fun. Next week…. not sure yet. I’m hesitating between swimming and running… I’ll let you know.