On New Year’s I decided this would be the year of physical fitness for me. In part, because I can, because I am blessed with excellent good health (when I’m not having strange conditions). But good health is not good conditioning, and I decided it was time to give the chassis a major tune-up.
Pilates: The Audi of Exercises
In January I started doing Pilates, an amazing system of specific exercises targeting the muscles of the upper and lower abdomen, lower back, and hips, in order to build up some strength.
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. The son of a prize-winning gymnast, he was a sickly child plagued with asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. He was motivated to strengthen his body through skiing, yoga, and body-building, and he was able to condition himself into good health. He came to the US in 1925, meeting his wife Clara on the boat, and started a studio for what he then called Contrology—very tailored, measured exercises. He built apparatuses to help access upper abs, lower abs, lower back muscles in ways that are simply not possible just on the floor mat itself.
I have a healthy skepticism for anything that claims to be wonderful, but Pilates is certifiably amazing. Joe Pilates was a genius about the way body works. I found very talented instructors at Body in Motion Pilates Studio and in six months I’ve become palpably stronger.
The Running Center
After six months of strengthening it was time to take it on the road. I didn’t want to run in a gym-—I find gyms depressing places. And so I joined The Running Club, headed by Coach Mindy, that works out in Central Park. I have only just started, and so I’m still struggling to breath since my cardio isn’t where it needs to be yet. As clichéd as it is, I like to think of Rocky from the first movie when he starts to get in shape. The triumphant run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art doesn’t happen overnight.
I am cautiously optimistic there is a runner inside waiting for my heart and lungs to get in gear and let her out.