According to two Pilates instructors, “you don’t have to do crazy s**t to look and feel good”. For those in professional services, this could just be the attitude needed to strike the right work-life balance.
Peaches Pilates co-owner Tori Clapham isn’t a fan of fads that purport to revolutionise one’s health and fitness overnight. “I’m really anti some of the trends out there which have people doing absolutely crazy s**t that just leads to injuries, and it doesn’t even necessarily work,” she said.
“We don’t have to be jumping up and down on boxes to get a high-intensity workout. If you want to raise your heart rate, go for a brisk walk. If you like running, go for a run. Think about your joints. Think about the long term. If you’re going to work yourself to a point where you get an injury, then you have to stop exercising altogether. Is it really worth it?”
The best thing about Pilates, she surmised, is that anyone can do it.
“You can be pregnant, you can be postnatal, you could be of any age group. You can have any injury.”
Speaking recently on The Wellness Daily Show, Ms Clapham and her fellow co-owner, Bec Chidiac, outlined how Pilates can be the physical and emotional outlet that so many workers in professional services need.
“A lot of the time, with your general gym exercises and daily activities, your body spends time in flexion, which causes so much tension through the body, especially these days. We spend so much time with our shoulders rolled forward looking at our phones, on our desks. Pilates allows you to open up the body: you’re working on your flexibility and on strengthening the muscles at the same time. It’s kind of like a double whammy,” Ms Chidiac explained.
“In terms of for your wellbeing, it teaches you to slow down, especially nowadays when we are very much on the go all the time. It’s like go hard or go home. That’s how I used to train. Pilates teaches you to pull back and know that when you do slow down and you do things correctly that you’re going to get way more benefits than if you just go and smash yourself at the gym.”
There’s a booming trend towards high-intensity exercise, Ms Clapham added, contributing to the “go hard or go home” attitude.
“We see a lot of office workers who get up at the crack of dawn, do a 50-minute high-intensity gym class where they’re not in any extension, they’re not in any rotation. They’re basically jumping up and down or smashing heavy weights, and then they sit on the bus and then go and sit at a desk for eight to 12 hours and they wonder why they feel like s**t,” she said.
For those in professional services, engaging in such high-intensity workouts on top of their predominantly sedentary lifestyles, Ms Clapham posited, may be making things worse.
“Stretching is so important, and if you’re doing anything high impact and then going to go and sit all day, your joints [are] not going to be left feeling very happy. Particularly, a lot of people as they get older, can tend to get really tight and their muscles can seize up,” she said.
For workers such as lawyers and bankers, Ms Chidiac mused, Pilates can help alleviate the stress and tension of a manic schedule and aid one’s sense of calm.
“I had a client this morning that came in for the 8:00AM class who is a finance lawyer. She can work from home every now and then. She had to get to class before she could tackle the rest of her day just because that is what makes her feel good. And she is somebody that was training at CrossFit and smashing her body and she’s now found something that is really working for her physically, but now, it’s turned into a whole mental approach,” she said.
“Pilates gives you that amazing endorphin hit, as most exercise routines do of course, but because of the added mental health benefits where you can’t think about what else is going on, people just feel incredibly revitalised.”
In light of this, Pilates has to be something that a professional services worker makes time for, rather than finds time for, the pair proclaimed.
“It’s just paramount to make it important. It has to be something that is important enough to you to find the time. And it doesn’t have to be an hour. You can start with 15 minutes. So, if you’re a morning person, wake up 20 minutes earlier, take five minutes to wash the sleep out of your eyes and then spend 15 minutes on a mat stretching, and then that might lead to you doing more intense exercises or take a lunch break,” Ms Clapham said.
“I totally understand that in the corporate world, there are a lot of people who laugh at the idea of a lunch break. They’re scarfing up a sandwich while they’re replying to emails at their desk. But I think if you’ve got time to scroll through Instagram, you’ve got time to take 20 minutes to yourself.
“There’s also a complete library of videos out there online where you can find a really quick workout to do at home so you don’t even have to leave the house. It can be before you leave work. It can be on the lounge room floor while The Bachelor is playing. Just give yourself a chance to start, and then once it becomes routine, it’s easy. It’s a lifestyle. It’s just those first few weeks that is really difficult. You just have to prioritise yourself.”
One doesn’t have to bite off more than one can chew, Ms Chidiac said in support.
“Usually when we start on our new fitness regime, we have to be training seven days a week, twice a day sometimes. Set yourself realistic goals. Start with working out twice a week. You’re going to notice how quickly you feel good. And, then, that twice a week will turn into three times a week and then your priorities will change and you’ll realise what is making you feel really good from the inside will turn into what makes you feel and look good on the outside,” she said.
Article by Jerome Doraisamy of wellnessdaily at momentum media.