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Reframing Your Attitude to Exercise

Updated: Oct 30, 2022

Exercise at school was not a pleasure for me. I wasn't good at swimming, running, tennis or athletics. I thought that exercise was not for me. This experience affected my attitude to exercise for a long time and I suspect that I am not alone. Luckily, I was still active as a child because I loved to dance (the Strictly latin and ballroom kind) and I did this competitively from 10-17 years of age. But I didn't think I was any good at sport/athletic pursuits, and this stayed with me for a long time. It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I tried running. I did a few 5 and 10K runs mainly to prove to myself that I could do it. While I experienced a sense of achievement, I didn't really enjoy running.

Since then, I've dabbled with other ways of being active, including hillwalking, zumba and yoga but I've always come back to Pilates. It focuses on creating balance in the mind and body, enabling better awareness of your own body and making you feel stronger and more confident about all that your body can do. Joseph Pilates who created the system said: “The mind when housed within a healthful body, possess a glorious sense of power.”

I love Pilates because you don't have to be thin or super fit to benefit from it. It is adaptable and inclusive, taking account of all body types, ages, injuries and health conditions. In this modern world where we sit a lot and many people experience back pain, it is perfect for addressing back pain by improving core strength and posture and providing a low impact full body workout.

I've also been drawn to the Buff Bones® system which draws upon Pilates a well as somatics, functional movement, and therapeutic exercise and uses techniques to strengthen bone tissue and improve balance. It provides a safe way for people with osteoporosis to exercise, enabling more people to move in a safe way. Continuing to move our bodies in all different ways is so important as we get older to avoid falls and fractures but also to allow us to keep doing what we love, whether that is long walks, active holidays or playing with children and grandchildren and importantly to retain our independence.

Bones are living tissues and can keep growing into young adulthood with people usually reaching peak bone mass by their early 20s. When we reach around 40 years, bone mass declines and women often experience rapid bone loss after menopause, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. One in two women over 50 are expected to have an osteoporosis-related fracture in her lifetime. (US Society for Women' Health Research). The Pilates and Buff Bones® systems use weight bearing exercises to improve bone strength. This doesn't mean lifting heavy weights. By using your own body weight and using light weights you create the potential to improve bone strength.

I never imagined that I would become a teacher of both systems. I love how movement using these systems helps me to get rid of muscular niggles and makes me feel stronger and more confident. I also love sharing my knowledge with others so that they feel better and stronger too. It's wonderful when people realise that they have the power to feel better and more at ease in their bodies and also to feel more confident generally through movement.

How do you feel about exercise? Does it feel like it's not for you? Why do you think that is? Is it really true that exercise is not for you?

How could you change the way you feel about exercise? Maybe you could find a form of exercise that you like to do - tap dancing, tai chi, swimming or Pilates? Could you do the activity with a friend and buddy each other to classes? Could you ask friends or local groups for recommendations of classes to attend? Perhaps you could set time aside in your week to commit to the activity? Could you join a supportive group for beginners or have a private session first if you are nervous of going to a group class? Alternatively, could you try out the activity using a free Youtube video or online class?

I'd love to know what you think - could you try any of these and reframe your attitude to exercise? How would that make you feel?

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