Many of you have seen what I look like on the outside. I've posted photos of myself in various Pilates poses, mainly to demonstrate that I can. Pilates when practiced correctly requires control. Joseph Pilates actually called it 'Contrology'. He wanted every movement and every muscle to be controlled. The idea behind the movements is to get your body to move in the way in which it was designed. Not to have just the larger muscle groups doing all the work, but have all the muscles do all the work.
To some this might seem easy, when practiced correctly it should 'look' easy. We all have different bodies that have different strengths. Some people are very flexible, some very strong, some have great endurance.
But, what if you don't?
What if you have a limitation?
Do we let that limitation become an excuse?
We all have limitations. And it is up to us whether we let that 'limitation' stop us or whether we find a way to work around it.
I have Scoliosis.
Many people say they can't tell.
And when I'm frequently practicing Pilates and doing my exercise as well as seeing my Chiropractor, I can't tell either. It's those few times when I slip, when I say "Tonight I'm not going to do my stretches" or if I'm not feeling up to running for a while and I don't run. That's when I feel it, the lower back pain, that can creep up to my mid back, sometimes it gets to my shoulders, especially my right one, which then effects my right wrist. This is a horrible feeling.
My Scoliosis also means that I have a sensitive stomach, so I have always really watched what I eat, as food that has many additives, lots of salt, sugar, caffeine and various other ingredients can give me great discomfort to my stomach, which can ruin a day.
And way back, before I started the largest lifestyle change of my life, I felt these feelings often. Sometimes it was difficult to sleep, sometimes prolonged sitting or standing caused enormous pain. I was sick of it and I wanted to change the way in which I felt inside my body. I knew it was too late to be able to rid myself of Scoliosis, however, Chiropractic really has done amazing things for me. I believe that without good Chiropractic care I couldn't be doing the things I'm doing today. It took more than that though, it took a change in diet (I've always been a clean eater, but sugar used to be my enemy), and a lot of activity to change the way my body felt.
I was told not to run, by someone a long time ago. As my spine, in their opinion, wouldn't be able to handle it. I loved running though, it's always made me feel good and feeling good means a lot doesn't it? My Chiropractor that I have now can tell if I haven't been running as I stiffen up and am harder to adjust. So my argument is that it's doing me a world of good.
Running wasn't the cure all though, as I still could feel my Scoliosis. Pilates changed all of that. Recently I had a short break from Pilates in which I didn't practise it for about 5 days. I will never do that again! I could feel the effects of my spine again. Not completely, I wasn't feeling terrible, but you could say I was feeling stiff. Doing regular Pilates has completely changed the way that my body feels every day. And thanks to my Pilates practise I can say that for the most part I can't feel the effects of my Scoliosis.
So the way I look at it, is that it is the lifestyle that you choose is the driver of the way you feel in your body. I choose to be active, eat well, abstain (mostly) from alcohol and sweets because I want to feel good everyday. I don't want to slip back into a time where pain, discomfort and all of the associated stressors that accompany these feelings are the norm. I want to live every day in the best possible way I know how. Simply because it feel great.
I'm passing this onto you because I'd like you to fell great too.
I'm not suggesting that Pilates or Running is the be all and end all for everybody. Nor am I suggesting that everyone rush off to a Chiropractor. These are the things that have worked for me.
If you are looking to make change in your life and want to become a healthier, fitter more active version of you. I suggest you find an activity that you like, that will keep you going back to it time and again. I also suggest that if this is a radical change for you, seek advise from your GP on ways to become the you that you want to be. Never start a new exercise or dietary programme without consulting a professional that knows your body and how it works.
Also if you have a serious illness, seek advise from your specialist to find what activities are best suited to you.