Practice only makes perfect if you are practicing perfectly!
Pilates classes are one of the few exercise environments outside Personal Training where you will be personally corrected if your alignment is off or you are performing the exercise incorrectly. This is often due to muscle tightness or weakness and a variation may be available or simply developing an awareness of how your body moves. This knowledge of how your body moves can be easily transferred to other exercise modalities.
Is any exercise better than none, even if you are doing it wrong?
If you are healthy and injury free, I believe exercising on your own is where you understand if you ‘get’ an exercise or not. It increases your confidence and personal responsibility to exercise when you have ownership rather than delegating it to a teacher.
When I attend a Pilates class and the teacher changes my alignment it often feels like I’m in the wrong position and that’s because muscle tightness often creeps up on you rather than happens overnight. But I note it and when I exercise on my own, I can feel when I’m in the wrong position even if I can’t see it. This is usually side lying for me, but you may notice it in a different alignment.
There is definitely a balance between self-correcting and a teacher correction and I believe you need both.
Life often gets in the way and I sometimes do not manage a block of Pilates classes but I try not to leave it too long as getting out of bad movements patterns takes so much longer than getting into them and it is much more frustrating!
This applies to any type of learning. I am attending Spanish classes at the moment and the class is not on next week, but I will still practice at home on my own and when I am class next I will have made progress but also forgotten some things as well that my teacher will remind me off!
What are you learning just now, do you practice on your own or just in class?
Samantha Valand is the author of “The Menopause Diaries: A practical guide to healthy eating and exercising in your menopausal years”. You can find out more about her book here.