Pilates is for everyone. Even when you’re quite a bit older you can still start practicing Pilates. Anneke Weststrate is living proof of this. She’s 80 years old and she does Pilates at Pilates Center Goes in The Netherlands, with my colleague Naomi Vos. Pilates means a lot to Anneke and she feels that by regularly practicing Pilates, every day will give you joy.
About 7 years ago I was looking for some form of movement that would suit me well. In other cities that I lived in I did Yoga and Tai Chi for years. Fitness is not really for me. In the PZC (a local newspaper) I read an article with Naomi Vos, who owns a Pilates Studio. “This is it!”, I thought. Personal guidance, attention to my ailments. I had problems with my SRI joint and I suffered from scoliosis. Physiotherapy wasn’t helping in ways that I had expected it to. The connection between me and Naomi was good from the moment we met. I was enthusiastic about starting Pilates and I still am.
What has Pilates given me?
The problems I had with my SRI joint were almost completely gone after a year. My ankles and feet have gotten more flexible. The understanding I had of my own body was good, but it has gotten better through Pilates. I find it stimulating that the exercises are never ‘done’. There can be new learning moments in the same exercises. “To be in the powerhouse” prevents cramp. But new exercises often take up all of my attention and I forget my powerhouse. To concentrate on the powerhouse is essential. I used to do the exercises with my eyes closed. I visualized the exercise. But thats not what you should do. You have to look at what you’re doing, it centers your focus. To me this was/is very informative.
Pilates every day
Pilates is something you have to do every day. Every morning when I wake up I do some Pilates exercises for at least 15 minutes. I can tell my body likes it. I was surprised to notice that my body and my muscles are more flexible than they were 15 years ago. In the spring of this year I had retina surgery and unlike 15 years ago I found it easier to bend my knees or back to get something. I also notice in other thing during everyday life. I turned 80 in March and I hope to be able to keep doing Pilates for many years to come. So body and mind can move freely….it gives you joy.