They say that age is just a number and I believe that to be true. At age 65, I’m celebrating my fifth year as a Pilates instructor and have never been happier! Not only have I experienced the benefits of Pilates but I get to share it with my clients and help them to rediscover their youthful energy.
As an older adult I can relate well to others in my age group. I know what living in an older body feels like and can appreciate the challenges that my clients face as they work to maintain their strength and flexibility as they age and as Joseph Pilates said “…perform daily activities with zest and pleasure.”
Many of my regular clients are in their 60’s, 70’s and even a few in their 80’s. I’ve helped my clients increase their strength and mobility, improve their balance and coordination, recover after hip and knee replacements and breast cancer surgery and improve their quality of life. It’s been truly rewarding. So how did I get here?
Back when I was in my 50’s, I found myself out of shape and concerned about my long term health and well-being. If I felt this way at 50, what would life be like at 60, 70 or 80? I knew I had to do something. After trying a number of different fitness methods, I discovered Pilates and soon began an incredible transformation. I felt like I’d come home. I had discovered a way of exercising that just felt right in my body. I felt stronger, breathed deeper and stood taller. I had more energy and my flexibility improved. The stiffness I’d attributed to “getting older” had gone and I was more confident about maintaining a great quality of life. Everything began to unfold in a way necessary to bring me to where I am today. I knew I had to share this with others but I wasn’t quite sure how I would complete the rigorous training required and work full time and still have a life. Sometimes fate works in strange ways.
Over the past five years I feel I have evolved as a teacher. I’ve continued my Pilates education to include an additional certification and many specialty workshops geared to the needs of older adults. I have developed a “restorative” Pilates class that includes a number of pre-pilates exercises to prepare the student for more of the classical mat work. Using props and modifications I make Pilates accessible to every-body. When students can access the work and perform it successfully they are more likely to continue and incorporate it into their regular routine.
Joseph Pilates taught up until he died at age 86. A few of Joe’s original students, collectively known as the Pilates elders, taught into their 90’s. The last two living elders are still teaching in their 80’s. I look forward to teaching as long as I can.
Len Palombi is a classically trained Pilates instructor, qualified on all apparatus. He completed his initial training in 2012, through The Village Pilates Studio in Forest Park, IL, under the direction of Master Instructor Regan Zubak and is certified by the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA). Len has also completed the Polestar® Pilates Comprehensive Training Program and holds additional teaching certificates in Pilates for Osteoporosis and Breast Cancer Survivors.
*Practitioner of Pilates Studio – Polestar® Pilates
*Post Rehab Breast Cancer Survivor Exercise Specialist – Pink Ribbon Program
*Bone Safe© Pilates for Osteoporosis – Jenna Zaffino