Being a fitness enthusiast has been a consistent part of my life. In my early twenties, I was centred around rigorous training for 10K races and dedicating hours at the gym every week. However, as I approached my mid-thirties, the landscape of my fitness journey underwent a transformation. The stress that high-impact workouts imposed on my body became increasingly challenging to manage. In response, I embraced a shift towards low-impact exercise regimens such as Pilates, cycling, and walking. Astonishingly, within merely six months of adopting this change, I experienced a host of benefits: weight loss, healing of lingering injuries, and an unprecedented surge of energy.
For a long period of time, I was engaging in two to three strenuous HIIT gym sessions each week, coupled with running distances ranging from 15 to 20 kilometres. Yet, rather than reaping the rewards of a lean and robust physique, my body began to manifest signs of wear and tear. My joints ached, and the intense workout routine seemed to have taken a toll on my overall well-being.
The consequences were especially prominent in my hip region, strained under the weight of running, vigorous jumps, and demanding weightlifting. Ultimately, the strain proved too much for my hips to endure, compelling me to quit exercise for a few months to allow for recovery.
Then, the chapter of pregnancy unfolded.
With the arrival of a newborn alongside the demands of caring for a toddler, my body’s capacity to withstand high-intensity workouts dwindled. Moreover, the constraints of time and freedom didn’t allow me to engage in workouts at my convenience. The exhaustion was palpable, and my body was TIRED.
Rather than surrendering to the notion of stopping exercise entirely, I embarked on a journey to discover an alternative for maintaining my exercise regimen amidst life’s busy pace. This journey lead me to Pilates.
What captivated me about Pilates was its emphasis on deliberate, controlled movements with minimal impact. It emerged as a gentle, nurturing approach to exercise that safeguarded my body from depletion. More than its physical benefits, Pilates allowed for self-focus through mindful movement, fostering a connection between my body and mind.
Pilates, in essence, encompasses a sequence of movements designed to strengthen muscles throughout the entire body. The practice revolves around deliberate, controlled movements that avoid straining or stressing joints and tendons. While Pilates indeed places significant emphasis on strengthening the core muscles along the spinal column, it extends beyond this. It embodies a holistic strength training regimen, enhancing balance, flexibility, overall toning, and nurturing a heightened awareness of the mind-body connection.
After adopting a regular Pilates practice, the evidence of transformation was undeniable. The extra weight melted away, my muscles stretched and elongated, and a surprising increase in my height—over an inch—became apparent. Moreover, the journey of Pilates healed my pelvic floor, a testament to its transformative powers of proper Pilates exercises.
The effects of this newfound practice started a remarkable turn of events: I pursued certification as a Pilates Instructor, with the intent of guiding others toward the transformative potential it possesses.
For those navigating stress, injuries, or the urge for a different approach to fitness, there is an allure of low-impact exercises such as Pilates. Pilates offers a rewarding challenge for achieving a fulfilling workout without the strain on joints. It has worked for me – it can work for you too!
Among the treasure trove of low-impact workouts, a spectrum of favourites emerges:
- Tai Chi
More importantly, it’s important to dispel the misconception that an effective workout equals post-workout soreness and depleted energy. The “no pain, no gain” mentality is outdated. The pursuit of fitness is not confined to numerical benchmarks or the pursuit of weight loss. The profound impact of exercise on the body’s overall health cannot be understated. By engaging in exercises that work harmoniously with the body, a realm of well-being unfolds. As lifestyles shift, circumstances evolve, and injuries heal, the paradigm of low-impact exercises emerges as the front runner, promising a journey toward vitality and serenity for years to come!
Christine Kirkland is a Certified Pilates Instructor offering online Pilates classes. She specializes in helping women ‘ditch the no pain, no gain mentality” and embrace low impact movement to enhance their overall quality of life.