At 50, a Pilates Do-Over!

pilatesAt 50, a Pilates Do-Over!

How did it happen, that I’m the oldest one in the studio?

Truth be told, it’s always been that way in pilates class. I began in what I fondly called the “remedial” class in my theatre and dance department when I was still teaching at the university, so I was lying on the floor in the midst of 18-year-old college kids. It was easy enough to ignore their strong, lithe, fluid bodies when I was desperate to locate my transverse abdominis, let alone contract it.

Now I take pilates classes with grownups, and, still, I’m the oldest one working the reformer. I’m about to turn 50, so the fact has become starker in the past few weeks. I’m hyper-conscious that I’m stiffer, and weaker, and certainly less eager than the others. On occasion, I do think unkind thoughts about the perky one in the baseball cap who’s so gung-go about the glutes series.

I try to think of this as an excellent opportunity to step away from my ego: “I’ll do what’s best for my body . . . It’s not a competition . . . Damned, that perky one is still annoying . . . Oops . . . Exhale . . . Pull down those lats . . . And exhale . . .”

Actually, I have achieved a bit more zen about the erratic performance of my body. I learned from my teacher, a former ballerina, that each class–whether it’s ballet or pilates–is a clean slate. One day you’re kicking it, and the next you’re dragging butt halfway through. That’s just the way it is. You work with it.

In other words, each class is a theoretical Do-Over! It’s a chance to start fresh, with renewed purpose and focus. At least, that’s the way I’m going to think about it from now on. Alas, I didn’t meet my goal to sit in a side-split on my 50th birthday. Maybe on my 60th.

Photo by Betsssssy

0 Responses to At 50, a Pilates Do-Over!

  1. cvharquail December 16, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    Ann, you’ve ot to come to my pilates studio, where at 49 I am one of the youngest ones!
    What I love most about Pilates )other than trim physique and strength) is that it is about doing the best that *I* can. I appreciate your reminder that it’s about strength from renewal every single time. cvh

  2. Ann Daly December 16, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    Sign me up! What studio do you attend?

  3. Gail December 18, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

    I enjoy reading your blog. Just couldn’t resist commenting about this one. I started doing Pilates a couple of years before turning 60. This fall I started a 7:00 reformer class. Some days I feel even older than my 68 years when participating with a class of 20 and 30 somethings.

    The wonderful thing about Pilates is that it meets you where you are – no matter how old or young.

    I’ll use your “each day is a new beginning” thoughts rather than the all too often comparisons I tend to do. Thanks.

  4. Ann Daly December 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    So glad you enjoy the blog, Gail. And so glad I’m not the only who slips into making comparisons! In fact, I had a great pilates class this morning. Still feeling them inner thighs…