I started going to reformer-Pilates classes a year ago and learned a lot about the exercise.
Since starting classes, I've become flexible and no longer have pain in my knees.
I've spent a lot of money, but am better at staying present during workouts.
My love for fitness classes began in college when I took my first Zumba class, and ever since, I've been curious about trying Pilates.
Last year, I started having some knee pain, so I figured it was finally time to try reformer Pilates, which uses a reformer machine rather than a mat.
I was in physical therapy and thought the low-intensity movement would complement the stretching and strengthening exercises I was already doing.
Here's what I learned after taking reformer-Pilates classes for a year.
In my experience, reformer Pilates helped to alleviate my knee pain
It's important to remember to consult your healthcare provider before starting a new fitness regimen, especially if you experience pain.
In my case, I believe reformer Pilates helped to relieve my knee pain.
Last year, my knees clicked loudly, even from simply moving around my house. They'd get sore when I walked small distances, and squats and lunges were painful.
On the reformer, I laid on my back on the carriage so there wasn't any weight on my knees.
Then, if I did squats, the only resistance came from springs on the machine, not body weight.
Pilates allowed me to build strength without putting too much pressure on my knees.
I've become more flexible and exercise different muscle groups
One of my favorite things about the Pilates reformer is the ability to perform various stretches, thanks to the sliding carriage, straps, and springs.
The adjustable resistance cords allowed me to stretch deeper and open my hips, hamstrings, and other tight muscle groups.
Now, I can sink deeper into stretches and hold them for longer than I could when I started.
I haven't lost weight, but that was never my goal
Although I don't burn as many calories as I would during a HIIT workout or a Zumba class, Pilates leaves me sore and increases my heart rate.
However, losing weight was never my goal. Pilates has strengthened the muscles around my knees and keeps me moving when I'm not feeling 100%.
I still find value and joy in taking Pilates classes because I get to work muscle groups that I'd otherwise skip.
I've become better at staying present during workouts
When I was stretching during a recent Pilates class, the instructor told us to quiet our minds and focus on the present because it's the only thing that matters.
That sentiment stuck with me, and I've improved at staying present during each session.
I look forward to Pilates classes because, besides providing a great full-body workout, they also allow me a moment of Zen and an opportunity to leave behind the week's stresses.
Although I've spent a lot of money, I think the splurge was worth it
I love going to Pilates, but just one class can cost more than a monthly gym membership.
At my local studio, Palm Pilates, a drop-in class costs $28. I typically purchase a 20-class package for $400 and visit the studio once or twice a week.
Palm Pilates caps classes at five to seven attendees, allowing me to get individualized attention during my session.
Though it's a lot of money, I'd say the intimate feel in each class has made it worth it.
So long as I can afford to do so, I hope to keep taking these classes.
Read the original article on Business Insider