By Jellyn Gueco
When I heard that the first Reformer Pilates studio in Pampanga opened in Angeles City, I was very eager to try it out. Reformer Pilates is an exercise that uses a special equipment called a Reformer, a machine which consists of a sliding carriage with springs, ropes, and pulleys. It’s a workout famous among athletes and celebrities for its full-body strengthening and toning benefits.
I’d never been athletic my whole life (and I’m a known klutz). My own husband’s reaction was to laugh uncontrollably when I told him I signed up for my first class. When he realized I was dead serious, the mirth quickly transformed to fear for my safety, even begging me not to end up in the ER. But I did not let his comments deter me from showing up at the studio. Besides, the non-refundable class fee I had already coughed up only fueled my bravado.
The good news is that I survived my first Reformer Pilates class, completed the second one, and have already booked my third class for next week. While that does not make me an expert by any measure, I have learned a few things that may convince other unathletic individuals to give Reformer Pilates a try.
It’s great for improving mobility
After turning 40 this year, I started to realize that my body wasn’t quite how it used to be. While I never possessed the flexibility of a gymnast, I never really had major issues with day-to-day movement. But now, simple tasks like bending down or reaching up for something were becoming a little more difficult. My bedside table is filled with essential oils, pain-reliever patches, and balms to ease the aches and pains that suddenly pop up on a random day.
I know that a couple of Reformer Pilates classes will not instantly transform me into a human pretzel, but what I noticed is that the exercise really helps in stretching out my frozen limbs and tense muscles. During my first two sessions, I was honestly surprised to find myself bending my body in ways I thought were impossible! No kidding!
Of course, there are also added benefits like improving flexibility, core strength, balance, and coordination but I think that the best thing that unathletic or sedentary individuals will gain from this exercise is to just make moving, in general, easier.
It’s a low impact exercise
Since we have settled that I’m uncoordinated and clumsy most of the time, with weak knees and a tendency to easily get tired, this rules out a lot of exercises for me. I can’t really run, bike, or swim to save my life. A recent surgery also prevents me from lifting heavy weights or engaging in high-impact moves like doing burpees, jumping jacks, or High Intensity Interval Training.
Since I refuse to accept that the only workout I can join is the Zumba class in our village with mostly senior citizens, I tried to find an alternative. I discovered that Reformer Pilates is a low-impact exercise that does not put too much pressure on the joints. This makes it an excellent choice for individuals like me who are still healing or those who are just starting their fitness journey. Plus, the movements are slow and controlled, so you don’t have to worry too much about keeping up with a fast-paced routine or being seriously injured.
It gets you sweating
Even though it’s a low-impact exercise, Reformer Pilates still gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat. It’s considered a high-intensity workout because it still challenges your body throughout the session. It also helps you tone your muscles and strengthen them too.
I must admit that my entire being was sore for three days after my first Reformer Pilates session, but it was the good kind of sore. Like the kind that tells you that your muscles are working and getting stronger. The soreness got better after the second session and I hope that in time, my body will better adjust to the workout.
It’s far from boring
There are other low-impact exercises I’ve tried before—yoga, elliptical machines, and brisk walking. But I felt that these exercises were not just for me. I found them too slow or repetitive that I would usually lose interest after just one or two classes. So signing up for my third Reformer Pilates session says a lot.
I learned that with Reformer Pilates, there are so many different exercises you can do with the machine to keep you engaged every session. During my classes, Coach Sophia of Revive Pilates Studio also used props like Swiss balls and Pilates rings for variety. Every new move is a new stretch and a new challenge.
It creates an active mindset
To reap the full benefits of this workout, coaches recommend at least three sessions a week. At this point, I’m starting with one session a week but I am hoping to increase the sessions gradually so as not to shock my body and my commitment issues with exercise in general. While I know that it’s not yet the ideal number of sessions, it’s personally a great start for someone as sluggish as I am.
If nothing else, attending a class or two every week gives me an excuse to dress up with new leggings and non-slip Pilates socks. Being in sporty outfits somehow provides a mental boost and creates a mindset of being active. It motivates me to get up from my couch and attend a class even just for that post-workout pic with my classmates.
So if you’re like me who has never been the athletic type, don’t let that stop you from trying out Reformer Pilates. You might just surprise yourself with what your body is capable of and gain some amazing benefits too!
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph