Like yoga, it’s probably fair to say that dynamic Pilates has changed my life. Fondly referred to as the ‘torture rack’, after a brief 2 year absence where I did as much yoga as I could, Pilates on the reformer is back big time. It’s changed my life to the extent that I now feel like I have a recipe for success; and if there is one thing in life that we can’t do without, it’s good health…
You see, being office-bound, you come across people all the time struggling with back pain and other muscle-skeletal injuries, induced by poor posture sitting at the desk. Some of their conditions seem quite bad, so much so that they are now considering whether to have the discs in their spine fused together… All under the age of 40. I shudder to think how they will fair when they are older. Having spent the last few years witnessing the decline of my grandmother’s physical health in a nursing home, I am determined and convinced that the secret to a long and prosperous life starts with being actively mobile, strong and flexible (even if that means you can’t do the splits, like me!)
However, dynamic Pilates is more than just strength and flexibility. Here are my top reasons why it’s such a powerful routine.
1. It’s curative.
If you have a specific injury or want to work on something, the routine can be tailored towards your goal. For me, this has meant strengthening my knee following a ski injury and has also resulted in no more debilitating neck pain – Pilates lengthens the muscles running down the neck and shoulder blades which can get all so hunched up whilst sitting at the office – my trips to the osteopath to ‘crack’ my neck are few and far between. As a result, I’m far more conscious of my posture at work, rather than needing a little app to remind me when I’m slumping on my chair at work. Pleeaase!
2. It increases testosterone levels.
Which well… Increases your sex drive. Is there more to be said about that? 😀
3. It’s challenging.
Resistance training is a key way to build core and outer body strength. The key to dynamic Pilates is the ability to adjust the level of desired tension in the springs, making the exercise as easy or as difficult as possible. Sometimes, as I like to say, ‘no springs for advanced’ – the Mecca for the ultra-competitive City boy. Throw in some dumb bells and you’ve got one serious workout that really shapes and sculpts your body, seriously. There’s something for everyone, and it seems at times the sky is the limit in terms of being a master.
4. It’s great for time-out from work.
The great thing about getting away from the office and exercising is the ability to clear the mind, and think. Studies have shown that doing different exercises stimulates certain areas of the brain, which can be used for problem solving or even being creative. I often find that I solve problems, or come up with a different solution to issues in my work during class – the dynamic Pilates routine gives you that precious space, whether it’s doing lunges or during the ‘wheel barrow’, to come up with that something new or solve that burning issue that’s being bugging you at work.
5. It’s endorphins (plus).
The combination of an all-body workout and weights with a focus on improving overall levels of fitness leaves you simply buzzing afterwards; it might also leave you hobbling around for days afterwards as your glutes feel as though they have been sizzled through. Well with it, I may say, as my girlfriend regularly comments – that I have the world’s best bum and should be a ‘bum model’. Not bad for a bloke, may I add.
So there you have it. There’s other newer routines and fads out there, that I haven’t tried, but I’m not really tempted at this stage. I’ve found what I like and it works for me.
Something needs to be said though, my yoga practice suffers, as I pulse like there’s no tomorrow in hanumanasana (yogic lunges) when really I should be flowing with the breath, but that’s ok, I’ll just have to be more mindful about that 🙂 . As my yoga teacher says, after 20 years of practice, “I’m still learning”.
Ps.: my favourite studio in London is Ten Health & Fitness (www.ten.co.uk). Since the humble beginnings in an underground studio in Notting Hill in 2008, Ten has grown into one of London’s leading Pilates providers. Always friendly and professional, Ten is a great place to start your Pilates career.*
* this post is written completely independently and without sponsorship (or knowledge) from Ten, I’m just unabashedly a big closet fan of theirs.