What is Pilates?

Living in Baja is like being on vacation every single day.  We are blessed with beautiful beaches, restaurants and many opportunities for social activities.  But one comment I’ve heard many times is: “After I moved here I gained weight.” And “I wish I could tone up my mid-section and then maybe my back wouldn’t hurt.”  I would respond with “Have you ever tried Pilates?”  “What’s that?” is the usual response.

Pilates (pronounced puh-lah-teez) is a wonderful form of exercise that focuses mainly on strength and flexibility of the trunk muscles – your ‘core’.  Your core consists of your deep stomach muscles, back muscles, diaphragm and pelvic floor and is the engine that moves your legs, arms and trunk.

Many professional athletes, such as Tiger Woods and Serena Williams do Pilates regularly.

Pilates is named after its inventor, Joseph Pilates, a former boxer and gymnast who invented the exercise for injured soldiers.  As we age we generally lose muscle bulk and strength and Pilates is a great way to build strength back up again.

The work also enhances posture, balance and coordination, addresses imbalances and supports the spine to do its job of keeping us upright.  With so many exercise variations and progressions, you may have a hard time getting bored with Pilates.  It’s fun!

I’ve been working in the Fitness industry since 1976.  Yes, Jane Fonda spandex and all.  I thought I was fit and flexible.  I looked it.  But it was not until 1990 when my knees started deteriorating and I was diagnosed with osteoporosis that I decided to change what I was doing.  After one Pilates class I was hooked.  After 10 classes I felt stronger, much more so than from any other form of exercise I’d done.  What’s more, after one year, my doctor re-tested my bone density and it had improved – all without medication!  Today, I’m stronger and feel more fit than in any of my younger years when I was teaching aerobics and cycling my way to nowhere in front of a class called “Spinning”.

By practicing Pilates regularly, you can achieve a number of health benefits, including:

  • Improved core strength and stability
  • Improved posture and balance
  • Improved flexibility
  • Prevention and treatment of back pain

About Terri Van de Sande

Terri van de Sande is a fitness professional with over 30 years experience with a wide variety of people to help them to achieve their personal best in health and fitness. She specializes in Pilates for spinal issues and has worked with pre-Olympic swim teams, sports professionals, dancers and couch surfers. Recently she was a fitness instructor at the world-famous Rancho La Puerta Resort and Spa in Tecate, Mexico. For more information on Pilates and classes, you can email her at: [email protected]

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