I’m thrilled that Strictly Come Dancing has started again. Over the years the sequins have gradually sucked me in to the point where I can’t miss an episode and will even try to watch It Takes Two on weekday evenings at 6.30.
One of the aspects of the programme that fascinates me is the athleticism involved. In the first few weeks the celebs always say how exhausted they are from the training (although some of them are continuing full time jobs as well which must be an enormous challenge) and it’s obviously very demanding. Then, as the weeks progress, they get fitter and stronger and increasingly able to deal with the training load. They all lose loads of weight too (Rory Bremner lost two inches off his waist by week 2 this series).
The judges give feedback about the celebs’ posture and if you listen carefully they often make comments about how their core strength needs boosting. I have to say, I could really go for some dancing lessons to boost core strength instead of pilates. I love my pilates sessions and am certain that it helps me stay much more niggle-free than I used to be, and am constantly recommending it to clients with a variety of postural or sporting problems. But the idea of combining it with another form of movement really appeals. Ballet, for example.
I ought to try Zumba, too, to see what all the fuss is about. I understand that gives a good core work out – I’m sure all dance-based exercise classes do. But there’s something about the control required for ballet and ballroom which appeals to me as a core-building thing.
If you’ve never tried pilates or any sort of core strength training I urge you to find a class double quick. I think it should be compulsory! Buy a DVD if you can’t easy get to a class. Or splash out on a few one to one sessions to get to grips with what you need to do so that you could work safely and effectively on your own – or that DVD. It’ll help improve (or remove) all sorts of musculo-skeletal problems, keep you upright and tall (which helps to make you look younger, slimmer and more confident) and keeps you supple and strong well into the later decades.
I saw a TV programme recently featuring a marvelous 100-and-something year old lady from New York City. She was terrific – sprightly, energetic and youthful. And they showed her morning routine – about 20 mins of exercises which looked very like many of the exercises and stretches we do in Pilates and yoga. I must say, if it can help that lady move around as brilliantly as she did at her age… it has to be good.