Angela Naava was on the hunt for an exercise that was simple yet could be effective in keeping her fit and trim. She was tired of the usual offerings in gyms, aerobics, weights, boxing yet she could not risk living without a regular workout. She did not expect much when her expatriate friend invited her to share her private pilates’ session but decided to try it out.
“The session delivered a vigorous workout that challenged my stamina and invigorated me. Unlike the pushy instructors I had got accustomed to, our instructor was so encouraging, telling us that she did not expect perfection on the first nine tries but we would get there with time,” Naava recounts. Naava was hooked and she started working out with local instructors.
The pilates workout named after its founder Joseph Pilates is a set of stretching exercises that strengthen and tone muscles, improves posture, provides flexibility and balance, unites body and mind, and creates a more streamlined shape. Often regarded as an exercise for the elite, Pamela Acaye, a pilates instructor, believes more people will eventually warm up to it once they understand its benefits. “It is a high intensity core workout that builds the inner strength of a person, towards the outside. It helps you learn correct form and movement that will form an alliance with your body for overall health and strength,” Acaye explains.
Pilates focuses on six basic concepts; centering, control, concentration, flow, breathe, and precision. Each movement is done with total attention which enables the body and mind to unite resulting in a holistic workout. Acaye observes that although the exercises might appear simple, they are more effectively done with an instructor until the person has grasped their scientific nature.
Who it suits
Because of its rather soft approach, it is perfect for people advanced in age or those recovering from injuries and other health issues. “At this age, it is advisable to take a more gentle approach and give the body what it needs,” Robert Damulira, a fitness instructor, observes.
With technology it is easy to get instruction on how to do pilates from online or one can buy a DVD. You can practice at home and you do not need any equipment apart from just comfortable clothes, and a mat.
This is good because pilates is not affordable for the average person. Acaye says a public class on average costs Shs30,000 per session while private classes cost double or triple that amount per session.