An Introvert’s Journey to Pilates

Hello, I’m Esther Wong, a final year Mass Communications student. I like to think that I am a bit of a nerd in a creative person’s body.

I’ve always been the shy type. Often described as quiet growing up, I didn’t like sports in school. I dreaded P.E. not because I had to exercise, but because I had to participate in group activities when I would rather be reading a book. When it came to playing sports like badminton or volleyball, I sucked. The pressure of being on a team in such a fast-paced, competitive environment, completely scared me.

I felt alone and even ashamed of admitting this. I thought I was the only one who felt this way, until years later when I noticed my little brother going through the same thing. I realized that being active does not have to be limited to playing sports, so I looked for alternative ways to exercise. I wanted something fun and exciting that I could do without a big group; paying for a gym membership was out of the question and while I thought running was great, it gets a little boring after a while.

In 2012 I discovered Blogilates, a YouTube channel run by a bubbly Pilates instructor. Her Pilates-with-a-twist workout videos were short and fun, always different but best of all, I could do it all by myself. Pilates is mind-body exercise designed to strengthen and condition your core while improving posture. It uses body weight, gravity or a variety of equipment. It works wonders at toning your muscles without adding bulk – great for those who want slim arms and legs and flat abs.

I fell in love with Pilates because it’s relatively slow-paced but very effective. It makes you feel good and all you need is a yoga mat so it is incredibly affordable. Don’t be fooled by its simple movements; the tiniest pulses can target muscles you didn’t even know you had!

Last year on top of my YouTube workouts, I joined a group Pilates class and loved it, too. Working out among other people helped in my technique, plus there’s a difference when your instructor is telling you what you’re doing right (or wrong!). Yoga is also amazing, but challenging in a different way. If you, like me, prefer slow-paced workouts with lots of punch, I’d highly recommend trying Pilates or Yoga. Mix it up with cardio for best results. I like doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) followed by Pilates in the morning.

Today, I’m no longer as shy or self-conscious as I was in secondary school. However, I am still very much an introvert so don’t be offended if I turn down an invitation to a friendly game of badminton or shy away from the gym. I prefer keeping my exercise routine private or among fellow mat-exercise enthusiasts. That being said, I may try something new with Active Students – you never know!

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