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Touching My Toes: What Goal Have You Achieved?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
For the past 4 1/2 years I have spent the better part of my exercise routine on the elliptical, treadmill, walking outside, running, and doing some strength training to boot, but I spent very little time on flexibility. I have managed to exceed my cardio and strength training exercise expectations well beyond my dreams, but the one thing I have not done in many, many years is to bend over and touch my toes.

I am not kidding when I say that I lacked the flexibility to do what seems so natural to so many. Just look at little kids--they think nothing about touching their toes, but for me this was a feat that I have not been able to do for ages--that was until I took up Pilates 12 weeks ago. And last week I achieved what I never imagined and that was to bend over and touch my toes!

Having spent almost 4 years in the gym and running for well over 3 years, nothing prepared me for the challenges that awaited me in Pilates. To say it was awkward, well let me just say, running seems so much easier than doing some of the Pilates moves. But I love the challenge.

So what has Pilates taught me in just 12 short weeks?

  • Slow down I spend so much time working on speed or endurance with my running that when I go to my Pilates class it's as though I am put into slow motion. The music is soft and slow and the movements are as well. Each move is deliberate with focus on resistance and being centered.

  • Focus is essential While I have been using visualization techniques for quite some time in my running, I am really learning to put this theory into practice in class. I am forced to focus on doing each movement with precision and in perfect form. This means I may not be as advanced in my own form as others are in the class, but I need to work with my own body and not just do the movements.

  • Breathing Good golly I thought breathing was important in running, but slowing down the process truly helps with the Pilates movements. You cannot hold your breath in class, that's for sure. Breathing through your nose and out through your mouth only enhances each movement.

  • Patience I have been running for so long now I can't quite remember what it was like when I first started, but Pilates is teaching me the patience it takes when tackling any new workout. It's allowing me the patience it takes to adapt to anything new that we do.

    So for all of you just embarking on the journey to a healthier you, know that you are not alone in your endeavors to reach your goals. It takes time but as the old saying goes, "time is going to pass whether we like it or not." Here's to all of us willing to go out on a limb and try something new, even if it takes time, courage and patience to reach our goals--even if that goal is just to touch your toes.

    Have you reached a goal that you never thought you would when you started this journey? Are you willing to take on new challenges that you wouldn't even think of doing before you started this journey? What small goal have you met that has had a big impact on your life?

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