My name is Elsbeth Ballering and I’m 52 y/o. I’ve worked in healthcare, first as a nurse and later I counseled cancerpatients. Right now I mostly handle housekeeping in my home. I’ve always loved running and playing tennis, but because I experienced pelvic instability during both pregnancies running and playing tennis became too much of a strain on my back and I eventually had to quit.
Exercise is important to me.
In the past I’ve suffered from depression combined with a burn-out. Lots of exercise has helped me get well again in that time. That’s why exercise is really important to me, so when I could no longer run I started looking for an alternative. I stumbled upon an ad for Pilates by chance. I had never heard of it before and I had no idea what it was. There was the opportunity to start an 8 class beginnerscourse which I subscribed to. Helga Stekelenburg taught the class in her studio in Oud- Beijerland. And I’ve been taking classes with Helga for about seven years now.
Before I started Pilates I had a lot of back pain. Basically nothing had to happen and I was unable to do anything for a few days. My neck and shoulders often hurt a lot too. Since I’ve started doing Pilates I’ve been focused on my posture a lot more. I sit up straight and I don’t sag when I’m behind the computer. Because my muscles are trained I have less back pain and I recover quickly. When my back is bothering me or when I’m on holiday I also exercise, usually for about half an hour.
Matclasses and private class
I take mat classes twice a week, with Helga on Monday and with Marti Kruger on Friday. They both have their own way of teaching and have a ton of knowledge. With Helga I also have a private class once every two weeks. So far I’ve only trained in her studio in Oud-Beijerland, but recently she also opened a studio in Rotterdam that I go to now too. When I train with Marti we often use a ball or a foam roll during the mat class. I really like the diversion this brings and it changes up the focus of the exercise. During the private class with Helga I train on the reformer, which I love. It makes you aware of which muscles you are using, your balance, muscle control etc. Whatever I learn on the reformer, I can use in my mat class.
I make time to do Pilates
I sometimes use the Pilatesstick at home, but usually I just do my series of mat exercises. Aside from Pilates I don’t really work out but I do walk with my dogs a lot and I train on a cross-trainer (which is less of a strain on my body then running is) and I have a big garden that I put a lot of time and effort into. I make a conscious effort to do Pilates because it helps me so much, both mentally and physically. I always get energy from it. Whenever I feel down, I always feel better after doing Pilates. Because you get more control over your muscles, your balance improves and you get further in the exercises. When the movement, concentration and balance come together during an exercise it gives me a lot of gratification and I think that’s the reason why I love doing Pilates.
I will always practice Pilates
Yes, I will always practice Pilates because when I’m 80 I still want to be 180cm (5”9). I think it would be wonderful if I’m still walking around fit and supple when I’m 80. I think you can stay healthy and fit and your immune system works better if you keep working out. I don’t have a lot of dreams, I tend to live in the now. Most important to me is to make my own choices and not to be led by fads or trends.