Torture Device or Effective Workout Machine?

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

We all know that an active and healthy lifestyle contributes to our immediate and long term wellbeing, but with so many options out there on how to stay fit and active, it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed very quickly.  I’ve done my fair share of classes, from boot camp to dance cardio, as well as organized group sports, and straight-up “hitting” the gym to lift weights, so I’m always looking for something new to keep and maintain my interest.

Despite my previous exposure to a variety of exercise options, there is one type of exercise that has piqued my interest and left me wondering for a while.  I’ll admit it though; I’ve been a little scared to try, mainly because of the machine that I call “the torture device”, otherwise known as the Pilates Reformer or Apparatus machine.  It’s a contraption that you may have seen before, but let’s face it, it doesn’t look like a very enjoyable time.

Let’s first clarify the difference between Pilates and yoga, since many people seem to interchange the two words and while there are some similarities in the benefits of each, they are, in fact, very different  from each other.  There are two types of Pilates, one type using equipment and apparatus and the other simply uses a mat.  Chances are that you are most familiar with Pilates on a mat.

The main focus of Pilates is to improve and correct postural imbalances.   When your body can move with ease, it can develop long and lean muscles, gain core strength, improve posture and balance.   Not only is this workout great for the everyday person, but it is a safe form of exercise for those who have experienced injuries in the past.

Finding that balance within is definitely part of the challenge, which I learned firsthand at a Pilates Reformer class at Evolution Studios in Langley.  I realized that slowing down a movement and being aware of your body can have just as much of an impact as any other workout.   Janet, the Owner and a Certified Pilates Instructor, was wonderful at explaining the movements and helping me incorporate the principles of placement and breathing.  All in all, a delightful challenge that left me a little sweaty and slightly sore, in the best way possible.

Evolution Studios offers Pilates Reformer and mat classes, as well as personal training and drop-in yoga classes (hot, flow, hatha).  In their pre-registered Pilates classes, you are sure to receive personal attention since they limit the class size to a maximum number of people.

Some of the other studios in the Fraser Valley offering both apparatus and mat Pilates classes are Pilates For Everybody Wellness Studio, located on the Aldergrove/Abbotsford border and Terpsicore, located in Abbotsford.

Trying any new routine can be scary, and when the going gets tough, it’s easy to skip one class and then another.  Keep yourself accountable by paying for a class for a set period of time; I can also attest to the fact that the buddy system is a good one.  Being accountable to someone else to show up and to challenge each other to keep going is a great way to stick to a routine, old or new.

Torture yourself, whoops, I mean, challenge yourself with something new such as Pilates. Your body will definitely thank you!

Contributor: Chrissy Lambert

Chrissy Lambert is a freelance Makeup Artist and owner of Makeup Infusion. She is a proud Auntie of two adorable nieces and loves a night out “on the town” as much as a quiet night at home.

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