I have been active all my life. As a kid it was everything from tennis, gymnastics, ballet and ice-skating. I have also been a swimmer since I could walk. I decided after college to pursue my love of fitness and entered the world of aerobics. I taught step, boxing, Spinning and loved helping others but, it was taking a toll on my knees and back. I was not feeling good after teaching and was beginning to think I wouldn’t be able to continue this my whole life.
One of my instructors at the club was a Pilates instructor and she kept begging me to come and do the equipment. She said how it would help with my aches and pains and change my body and alignment. It took a while but when climbing stairs became painful I decided to give it a try.
The moment we started working on the Cadillac I was hooked. She had me engaging muscles that I had never focused on, breathing in ways I never knew about. After years and years of banging my body around I suddenly had this light bulb moment. I left that first session feeling energized and without pain. I continued with her 2x a week and was noticing my clothes fitting differently and when I was teaching my classes my knees weren’t hurting and back was stronger, due to the deep abdominal work we were doing in Pilates.
My mother’s side of the family has arthritis and my mom has had both her knees replaced and both her hips. I started learning how Pilates would help me with supporting those joints and keeping the mobility so, fingers crossed that won’t be an issue for me.
When my friend/mentor/instructor suggested I get certified to teach I laughed. How could I possibly learn to do that? I thought about it and talked it over with her and realized I could help others just as she had done with me.
Now, over 14 years later Pilates and swimming are my workouts, Pilates is my job and Pilates is still affecting my body in new and amazing ways. After a car wreck my SI joint became an issue and again Pilates helped me work on those areas to help stabilize my pelvis and keep that area as strong and mobile as it can be.
I have seen so many of my clients get rid of pain, become more flexible, learn how to stand and move properly so they prevent injuries and I know that for me Pilates has done all of that and will continue to in the years to come.
Pilates for me has been about getting rid of pain and keeping my body pain free. Learning how to engage muscles that I wouldn’t have even thought about before. I truly believe if I hadn’t found Pilates I would be struggling with knee pain and just getting up and down out of chairs and that the pain in my low back and SI would be unbearable.
Author: Submitted by Hilary Opheim
Location: Houston, TX
Occupation: Washington Ave Pilates studio owner/director/instructor