‘If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young,’ so said Joseph Pilates. I am reminded of this quote when I attempt to take up running again and it’s a bit stop-start-y. On the day I buy a new pair of running shoes (Asics Gel Kayano 24; I overpronate) my back seizes up. Law Of Sod. The problem is I’m inflexible and stiff and I spend too long at a computer screen. I need to do more Pilates.
You are never too old for Pilates – and there are loads of videos on YouTube to prove it. I started at 48 and there was a man in the same studio who was as fit as a fiddle at 81. Pilates is good for strengthening and toning muscles and improving posture and flexibility; I got into it because I have a dodgy back, my Pilates Pal Janey had a shoulder problem and neither of us wanted to be subject to the condition we nicknamed ‘Croning’ (the hunched over posture associated with osteoporosis). Once a week I go to a mat class (mainly to have a lie down and a laugh). The 66-year-old Polish tutor Bagusha has an amazing physique and a unique way with words. Thus, tilting the pelvis is called ‘Michael Jackson Hips,’ there’s also the ‘George Clooney on the Beach’ manouevre and ‘The Sainsbury’s Bathroom Pose’. As well as being fun, Pilates can be a brilliant way to meet like-minded people and everyone’s sorted for HRT. Plus, it can also provide psychological strength. Joe Pilates had to overcome numerous struggles in his life, including being interned during the First World War, in a prison camp on the Isle of Man (this is where he developed his ideas). His philosophy is based on the principle that having more control over the body allows you to feel more relaxed and in control of other aspects of your life. And stretch…
Pilates is the New Clubbing has been updated from my first book Style Forever.
This content was originally published here.