Our mid-40s are a critical time in our lives, not just because of all the hormonal changes our body undergoes, but also because it is natural to feel less active as one gets older. According to experts, our fitness levels decline as we age and this drop is most severe as we approach 45. Social and lifestyle changes at this time also affect fitness levels. So, if you’re thinking of taking it easy and simply putting your feet up because you have reached middle age, don’t. Women who do nothing to stop their body’s natural decline face higher risk of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
Don’t give up on that exercise yet. Nothing too vigorous though, since this is also when our bodies begin to lose bone mass (thanks to osteoporosis) and take longer to heal. While brisk evening walks are a great way to stay fit and breathe in some fresh air and cycling and swimming are both highly recommended, the wholesome benefits of Pilates cannot be underestimated.
Low-impact and partially weight-bearing, Pilates is great for building core strength, flexibility, co-ordination and balance endurance. Regular classes will not only help improve your posture, giving you a stronger, healthier back that is free from lower back pain, but it will also give you a sense of calm and well-being.
Still don’t think you need any form of exercise? Why not perform this simple test to check your overall body strength:
- Get into the plank position and try to hold it for at least 60 seconds. Can’t?
- Time to roll out that Pilates mat and giant ball!
- Look up some videos on the internet, or even better, join a Pilates group class in the area (this is recommended if you are a beginner) and get started.
- And if you don’t think this can help, just retest yourself with the “plank test” on the first of every month (after starting the strength program of course) and see the difference for yourself.
Everyone from Cameron Diaz, who says she looks better at 40 than she did at 24, to Kate Winslet (who does a mixture of mat and reformer) to superstar Sandra Bullock, swear by a regular Pilates routine. Vanessa Williams even claims to have been doing “Pilates before people even knew how to spell Pilates” after she had her first child, 22 years ago. And who can deny how great she looks for her age? In case you didn’t know, Williams is 51 years old. Well past the 40 mark.
So if you too want to say goodbye to stress, lose those extra pounds and be free from back pain, why not opt for Pilates as a means to regain that stunning silhouette of your youth? It’s not just a celebrity fad. It really strengthens and tones the body from the inside out, leaving you looking younger and more supple every day.
As Joseph Pilates so succinctly put it, “Your true age is not measured by the number on your birth certificate. If, at 30, you are stiff and out of shape, you are old. But if, at 60, you are supple and strong, then you are still young.”