Exercise for the unfit: 45 min Pilates

I swim. That’s how I exercise. I fucking love swimming. Come the Australian summer and you can find me in the pool several times each week swimming 40-120 laps depending on what I feel like. Winter is a different story. Swimming in outdoor pools when it’s cold just isn’t a thing. It’s horrible and even worse when it rains. So I stay home. Because I have asthma, jogging just doesn’t work. Gym membership is expensive.

So, what’s a girl to do when she notices that a lack of exercise plus eating more rustic meals and fewer salads makes those jeans fit a little tighter than she’d like? I know I’ll go back to my usual body shape when summer comes around, but let’s try to do some form of exercise in winter.

Criteria: cheap. low impact (my sports bra sucks). Doesn’t trigger asthma. Can be done inside. That pretty much leaves yoga, dancing, and pilates.
I’ve done power yoga before and while it’s a good form of exercise, I could never stand the philosophical mumbo jumbo that came with it. Dancing is something I prefer to do when I go out and i become self-conscious when I do it alone and there’s a mirror.
So that means pilates is the winner. Or at least the thing to try for this challenge. I’ve also heard that Dita von Teese does pilates as a part of her exercise routine and she looks great. Superficial Ida is superficial.

Not wishing to start with a 90 minute class or signing up for a semester of classes before knowing if I like it or not, I turned to youtube. To Sean Vigue Fitness. I’ve tried a few of his yoga videos before, he’s straightforward and funny. That’s a winner. So I tried this 45 minute pilates class of his:

Did I die from being out of shape? Nope. The class offers several levels to many of the exercises and I usually stuck around the lower-mid options depending on what the exercise was. My asthma didn’t trigger, which makes exercising so much easier and more fun. I had to make some adjustments since my room is really tiny and I can’t stretch out fully into all poses.

Was it fun? I don’t get a mad endorphin rush from exercise. Two exceptions: breaking my personal lap record in the pool and competing in show jumping (mainly because I’m convinced I’m going to die during every ride). As far as other exercise forms go, yeah it was quite fun. The video is very… self aware, I guess. It’s great that Sean Vigue sounds like a real person and not a hippie guru trying to hypnotise you because one of those things is a lot easier to put up with.

Was it a good workout? I got a bit sweaty, my muscles feel looser afterwards and will probably feel this in my arms tomorrow. I discovered that some of my muscles were a lot tighter than I thought (Hello right side of my neck) and that I’m not as badly out of shape as I thought. This is a lot more empowering than trying to go for a job and having to stop within three minutes because your asthma is trying to kill you. A failed exercise attempt does more harm than good and is very unlikely to make you want to try it again. Given that you can adjust the difficulty/challenge of the workout, I think this is a good video to stick to to notice the difference in how your endurance and strength improves over time.

Anything to keep in mind? You’ll need a yoga mat. If you have serious back issues, this might not be a good option for you since you spend a lot of time on your back (if sit-ups are a no-go for you, then be careful with this).

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