The pilates assignment: Get in shape

Capital News reporters Kathy Michaels and Jennifer Smith begin a five-week challenge with the support of the NEUmovement Pilates and Physio.

Not since my pant-size was in the single digits have I relished the idea of walking into a room of beautiful 20-somethings.Kathy and Jenn

But, recently I did just that.

Worse yet, I schlepped into a room of beautiful people smiling sadistically from the pain-free side of what can only be described as a medieval torture machine.

Sure, it sounds like I’m the odd woman out in the opener to an R-rated horror movie, but that’s just the first moment of my pilates challenge, where instructor Ashley Piper strapped me into said medieval machine, introduced me to my core, and I breathed like I’ve never breathed before.

There will be more about that in days to come when you’re subjected to the saccharine highlights of breakthrough moments at Neumovement Pilates and Physiotherapy, but today here’s the context.

I loathe workout culture. Anything, in my opinion, that nurtures insecurity, superficial comparative analysis and generally boring conversations should be snuffed out. And to me, that pretty much sums up exercise culture. Plus, I think spandex-wearing should be a criminal offence.

It was an easy stand to take in my teens, when I swam competitively. Or even in my 20s, when I was young and active enough to not think twice about…well, anything.

But the latter half of my 30s has offered a few unexpected challenges.

For example, I stopped smoking a couple of years ago, and all the so-called toxins I once lovingly inhaled, turned solid and gravitated to my arse. I blame the Surgeon General for at least two pant size bumps.

Simultaneously, I settled into a desk job, which did little to help the aforementioned body part, and added a few extra maladies.

Being hunched over a keyboard all day for years on end has added internal sound effects to movements. When I roll my shoulders, for example, it sounds like the Grim Reaper is shuffling a deck of cards.

In short, I’m perpetually stooped and a wee bit pained.

In the words of renowned social commentator Paris Hilton, it’s hot. In the words of my mother, it’s something I need to work on.

So, I do, here and there. I ride my bike, I walk my dog, but I won’t ever walk into a gym.

Until the concept of a pilates challenge was floated to me and Jennifer, that is.

It held appeal in two ways. First, I’m always interested in something new, and in this case, not so new.

Once upon a time when I had a different career, I could afford pilates and I found it to be a refreshing experience. It was about going in, not out and when I walked away from the experience a decade ago, I walked straighter and more confidently.

Second, it’s been a long time since I’ve afforded myself the chance to do something to make myself better. Quitting smoking those years ago was just about survival and avoiding wrinkles.

Now it’s about being better, and Piper is leading the way.

Kelowna Capital News

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